Enjoying your work and helping your employees to enjoy working for you can lead to higher productivity, lower turnover and a better running organization. Here are some ideas you may find useful.

Set priorities. Both you and your employees should know what is important and focus on the high-priority items. As a manager, you understand how everything in the business comes together to produce a profit. Identifying the critical items for success and then communicating the “how” and “why” can get everyone working toward the same objectives.

Establish deadlines. Employees like to know what is expected and when it is due. Set realistic deadlines and help employees understand why they are necessary.

Pick some “low-hanging fruit.” Most businesses have many ways in which they can improve. Some are easier to achieve than others. By choosing some easy ones, you may be able to realize some quick success and energize the entire organization to accomplish more. Nothing breeds success like success.

Set short- and long-term goals. It is human nature to overestimate what can be accomplished in a short period of time and underestimate what can be accomplished over a long period of time. Take advantage of this tendency by giving employees some short-term projects, where enthusiasm can carry the day, combined with long-term projects that can produce significant positive change.

Hold effective meetings. Meetings take everyone away from other tasks, so make sure they are worthwhile. When scheduling a meeting, ensure the purpose of the meeting justifies the time it will take. Keep in mind that a one-hour meeting with eight people consumes the equivalent of someone’s full workday.

Be considerate of everyone’s time and avoid interruptions during the meeting. An agenda can keep everyone focused. Setting a time limit at the beginning of the meeting will help produce conclusions because people will be less likely to get off track.

Finally, don’t let someone monopolize the meeting with off-subject items. Personal stories or humor can have a place in the workplace, but not if it detracts from the purpose of the meeting.

  • Learn to listen. In most cases, your employees care about your business. They often have ideas and concerns that need to be addressed. Conveying a willingness to truly listen will encourage employees to offer constructive ideas (and sometimes criticisms) that can be important. Focus on what you are hearing, avoid rudely interrupting a speaker, and respond. Effective listening shows you care about what is being said and that you respect the person speaking.

This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.