Mave you heard this term, productivity paranoia? Paranoia, man that is a strong word. Well, I saw this in Microsoft’s Work Trend index report, and it’s speaking to the fact that while 87% of employees feel productive at work, only 12% of managers actually trust that their employees are being productive. They have this paranoia about whether or not the productivity is real.

They’re going so far as to use technology to track productivity, tapping into how long employees are on certain applications or logged onto their computer. But even using that is causing the paranoia, because they still don’t believe whether those metrics are true. That maybe the employee is logged on, but they’re not actually being productive. And I just have a very strong call to action. We are at this pivotal point in time leaders, that you’ve got to shift your paradigms.

We are not in the state of old school management, where you have direct reports to bark orders at and tell them exactly what they need to do, and use that motivational whip to get them into shape and in line with what you want. That is old school.

We have shifted the paradigm, come along with us!

We’ve got to make those changes. And look, I get it. One of the biggest changes is that you as a leader are missing some of those visual cues. You don’t necessarily see people in the office every day. The things that gave you some peace and comfort about whether or not your employees were working, you would see them, whether they were paying attention or not paying attention, sitting in an office or conference room for a meeting. You would see them as you walk down the halls and you could have that quick interaction.

I realize that this change has brought about some of that need to shift how we think about it. But going to this level of paranoia should not be the answer. Instead, it’s about coming together, collaborating, building a relationship between leaders and their employees, and having that open line of communication. And instead of focusing on the amount of work, how much work is getting done, it’s about communicating the type of work to be most effective.

So leaders, you should be collaborating with your employees on prioritization. In fact, employees have said, “I want my manager to help me prioritize,” yet very few actually do. These informal, just, “Hey, give me a status update on where you’re at,” these little check-ins, they are not effective. You have to be working in conjunction with your team to prioritize. Open those lines of communication, set a process for your regular one-on-one meetings.

We have an effective six-step process at The Corporate Refinery I would be thrilled to share with you! You’ve got to be able to, again, shift the paradigms, get rid of the paranoia, and instead come together in a collaborative relationship to open the lines of communication and work together. It’s not just about how much is being done or, “I see you, I think you’re logged on.” Let’s get rid of that and let’s focus on effectiveness and driving results that benefit the organization, leadership, and the employee’s goals, so everybody wins!