Too often do we judge people on their appearance rather than on the work that they actually produce. As managers we need to stay grounded in results and not the appearance of progress. Take a look at the snippet of George Costanza's character on Seinfeld. Does George remind you of someone you know, a colleague, a friend, or a family member?
Immediately, we associate these character traits with the amount of effort that people put forth in their jobs, doubly so if people are valued for showing up early or being the last ones at the office. However, this doesn't always mean that these individuals are the ones that produce the most for the company.
As managers, we need to pay attention to the facts of whether such employees produce results that are expected of them and not on the appearance of how hard they appear to work or how long they stay at the office. Let us remember Parkinson's Law: work expands so as to fill the time available.
We need to be careful not to become these busybodies ourselves. It is so tempting to place higher value on ourselves by spending more time at the office or staying connected via cell phones 24/7. It makes us feel important and needed. And it brings us more respect from our peers...
I experienced this several times throughout my own career, particularly at Progeny, where I felt I was working 24 hours non-stop for many years. It was extremely stressful and challenging, but strangely rewarding as well. In the past I had garnered the respect of my peers with the work I produced. Now even my superiors hesitated before entering my office or asking me to take on a new task. I felt more empowered than ever and yet something did not sit right. I sensed a new barrier in place between me and my colleagues.
It is not for me to judge whether I succeeded in offering help and advice to my peers as before, but I certainly made time and myself available for them. I did not want to become this busybody that intimidates everyone around him with the appearance of activity and stress. I often found it difficult to put on a smile, but it was definitely worth the effort and helped me maintain great relationships even in the worst of times.
As managers we need to manage our subordinates' times well. We don't need to make them look busy. We only need to ensure they are challenged and engaged in their work. It is our job to build and maintain an environment where the workers are happy and excited, not busy and angry.
Thanks to extensive research in recent years we can safely say that happier employees are more productive.
Now let's get productive!