It’s Time to Stop Pop-Quiz-Style Management

Pop Quiz time!

No-one likes that phrase. Ever.

If you do, you might be one of those amazing Dish commercial people:

So why is it so prevalent that we feel the need to pop-quiz our employees when we want to see how they are doing in their workflows?

What do I mean? Have you ever had a boss see you, outside of a meeting, and ask where you were with a project? Seems natural enough, right? But all too often, the tone can be heard as accusatory or suspicious. It sets you on edge, especially if you don’t have hard numbers or concrete status updates available for them at that moment.

But what if YOU are that boss? Here are some things you can do to avoid upping the anxiety with your employees in this way.

1) Schedule update meetings if you want updates.
Again — fairly obvious, but in our fast-paced, data-driven new workplaces, we want updates/statuses/graphs now Now NOW.

2) Set a regular time when those reports can be thoughtfully prepared for you.
If you are going for an A+ on this point, try to have an agenda ready too, detailing the areas where you will want specific information.

3) Apologize when you fall into the “Where are we at?” habit.
Sometimes you want to know status before the aforementioned scheduled meeting. Maybe you just got Pop-quiz’ed from your boss, or maybe you just need it to assuage your fear of not hitting your team’s goals. Whatever the reason, if you hear yourself saying it — follow it up with qualifying statements:

  • I am sure you are preparing the reports for the meeting(s), but I just wanted a quick update.
  • When you get a chance, can you get that to me?
  • BONUS POINTS — Where can I find that info myself?

4) Try to determine if there are things you can do to create less urgency in your day to day work.
There will always be deadlines, demanding clients and other reasons where the sense of urgency and anxiety in the office is warranted. But these should be short bursts, not frequent or consistent.

5) Ask yourself these questions:

  • If one of my employees were out for a week, would everything derail?
  • Are all of my employees working to capacity on things that they feel they were hired for or, even better, are they happy?
  • Have I looked at if I could be doing things more efficiently?
  • If I layered in some extra staff, even just a handful of hours or for a short term project, could we get ahead of the game a bit?

Your staff’s happiness and their sense of security has a direct impact on their productivity and therefore, your profits. If you need help assessing your pain points, implementing new, more efficient workflows or determining how to augment your staff to achieve those goals — let us know. We would love to help you out.