Merge's Blog

Don’t multitask, be present when it comes to employee interactions

Back in March 2013, I wrote a blog post titled Focus on the present in order to achieve big things in the future. In it I talked about how not to let current short-term challenges get in the way of future long-term goals. Today’s blog post takes a slightly different tack on the word “present” – specifically that it’s important to BE PRESENT in order to maximize productivity and team performance. Let me explain.

Female architect using tablet computer, looking awayYou’ve done it (we all have) – glanced at your email while talking to one of your employees. Or shuffled through papers on your desk while simultaneously carrying on a conversation with one of your staff. Stop. Not only is it not working, but you’re also doing more damage than good. You may think that you’re being productive by doing two things at the same time, but the truth is that you’re doing neither well. Not only that, and perhaps more importantly, you’re jeopardizing your relationship with your staff. You may not intend to do so, but your inattentiveness is disrespectful to the very people who ensure your department’s success. Instead, choose to be present.

Choose to be present. When an employee comes into your office to discuss something, turn away from the computer or the report you’ve been reading, face them, and give them your full attention. Not only will the conversation be more productive, but your behaviour is a huge indicator of respect to your staff member. People in organizations repeatedly tell me that it’s very frustrating to have a conversation with their supervisor or manager, only to feel like they are interrupting and being partially heard. “I find that I have to repeat the same thing several times because my manager doesn’t hear me the first time, and then he asks me questions about things I told him less than a minute earlier” says one employee. So be present. You’ll be more productive and so will your staff.

Well, what do you think? Whether you’re the manager or the employee, how important do you think it is to be present in the conversation of the moment? Share your thoughts please.

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