TIPS FROM THE TOP >
How do you maximize productivity?
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: Pavel Veselý
I currently manage three companies with a total of 150 employees
at all levels, so I've naturally read many guides to correct management
and motivation of employees. Our management team is made up of people
of varying ages over 25. It isn't easy to motivate such a diverse
team in terms of age. Among older team members there is the traditional
saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, while younger
members are lacking in experience and yardsticks for comparisons.
But if a firm is to prosper, the team must be able to turn off the
Speaking with the team more about plans for the future has proved
worthwhile for me. I always try to compare such visions with the
present to better explain their sense and necessity. My colleagues
then have more trust in me, and if I can convince them, they are
willing to knuckle down and try harder. My trust in the team thus
also grows, because I can feel their support. I call for discussions,
I try to understand their feelings, and when possible, to avoid
an authoritative management style. I've had to part ways with strong
individuals to avoid diluting the teamwork. I'm not keen on being
surrounded by loyal yes-men; I respect my colleagues who can come
up with good ideas themselves. My task is then to support them in
putting their ideas into practice.
senior manager Human resource Consulting,
I recall working with a very small team whose members were labeled
as poor performers. We had a short time-frame and limited resources
- and I risked using one of my coaching approaches. What did I do?
I was absolutely frank and disclosed to the team what was believed
about them and their performance. Why did it work? My experience
with teams is that we often engage far too much energy in the various
"games" through which we seek acceptance and respect from
the group. In this case, each of the members privately "processed"
the feedback and it removed many of our hidden internal barriers
to full performance. We quickly reached cooperation and creative
We focused on the real thing, and were able to communicate in a
straightforward way. That helped our objective to become clear and
our actions aimed on completing the task rather than on satisfying
our own egos. The unpleasant feedback served as a challenge and
people mobilized the best in them to fulfill the task. They were
much more willing to listen and accept the best solutions instead
of fighting for their own.
managing director and chief architect,
The growing number of Loxia projects resulted in the growing number
of employees. This, together with greater professional requirements,
forced a shift from a universal arrangement of work teams to the
creation of specialized groups fully engaged in their fields. This
led to the birth of teams for office, hotel, residential, industrial,
leisure, and commercial projects. It's now possible to share experience
and intellectual capital and achieve greater harmony between the
client's needs and the architectural solution.
The architectural concept was separated from the technical and administrative
engineering work through cooperation between two separate legal
entities (Loxia, a. s., for architecture, and Loxplan, s. r. o.,
for engineering and design activities). The precise division of
individual phases and responsibilities within the project among
management members and project managers helped better concentrate
energy in production itself, and thereby in profitability. The new
organization allows every employee to do his best on his own task.
Our clients greatly appreciate this clarification, too.
director of finance department, IPS
First of all, this is my twenty-ninth year with this company. That
means I've been through several bosses, so I can recall the conditions
that were conducive to my work. I'd also like to note that for a
woman it's unquestionably harder to be a director to women. Men
are more open when speaking their minds, while women often keep
their thoughts to themselves. As far as motivating subordinates
is concerned, things were best for me with a boss who was always
in a good mood. Although he was demanding as far as work went, he
never flew off the handle or got moody, and he never brought his
personal problems to the office. I try to treat my subordinates
the same way. I've been working with these people for ten years,
and I think we're a good team. One of the keys is to keep smiling
- and don't turn mistakes into tragedies.
Mistakes should be resolved, and people shouldn't be put under stress
because of them. Of course negative motivation - fears about bonuses,
position - can work, but not for the long term. However, if a subordinate
repeatedly fails to follow through, naturally I start slamming doors
too. In my department in particular the "bonus for good work"
system doesn't work. Consistent good work is required, and if everything
is going well, my colleagues can be sure that at year's end I will
give them the highest bonuses I can.