Last week, I talked about how boredom at work is one of the worst employment states and offered suggestions for how employees can improve bored working conditions. I want to focus now on leaders who have bored workers.
If you have people who are bored on the job, I believe there are two primary reasons and two primary tips for curing the boredom.
1. They are bored because you don’t need them, or you don’t need them full-time.
Long gone are the days where every single position on the face of the planet needed to be a 40 hour a week job. Nothing is a waste of money and talent more than paying people for time in a chair rather than time being productive. Yet we are so enthralled with the 40 hour work week.
If your people are sitting there with nothing to do 50% of the time, then you need to either delegate (see below) tasks to them, or find a modified way to employ them in the time that it takes them to complete the job, whether this is full-time or not.
Tip 1: Consider Contract
In an interesting article entitled The Forgotten 5th?, by Erik Pages, an emphasis is placed on 1/5th of the workforce that operates on a contract basis. Maybe contracting is an option for you to maximize your money and maximize others’ talent.
In addition, Charles Handy, a great British thinker who was way ahead of his time, talks about the usefulness of the nimble “flea” in his book The Elephant and the Flea instead of the cumbersome “elephant” as an organization and a workplace. Maybe you need to employ more “fleas” or “free agents” and think creatively about how to design jobs and working hours to get work done as efficiently and effectively as possible.
2. They are bored because you have the I can do it better than everyone else syndrome. In other words, you have trouble delegating.
I recently had someone tell me, “Well, I don’t just hand it over because it takes more time to hand it over than it takes for me to do it myself.” I’ll admit, I’ve had these feelings before myself, but in actuality, if this thought is occurring to you more often than not, and you’re also overwhelmed with your workload (the person I am referencing definitely is overwhelmed with his workload), then why aren’t you handing things off to people you are paying to get work done for you?
Tip 2: Delegate
Map out what you have to do every day or every week. Pinpoint is what is critical for you do to, then delegate the rest. Oftentimes we have an emotional attachment to certain task(s) or clients. Instead of considering who we employ that could learn and thrive on these tasks or client interactions, we take them for ourselves because we are emotionally attached. That emotional attachment is often, to be quite honest, tied to wanting to get the credit for the work. But leaders make more leaders, and credit does not matter so much to leaders as developing people does. Delegate to develop.