Critical thinking is an essential skill in our current economy. The ability to discern, evaluate, and differentiate can make the difference between informed and careless decisions.
Our workers are often in a rush. Many have more work to do than time to complete. Consequently, sometimes even the smallest of items are handled without thinking, let alone without critical thinking.
How do leaders handle these situations when our teams suffer from not only work overload but from the reprimands that arise as a result of not thinking?
I see workers cope by appearing unfazed when snarky comments and criticisms hurl their way. Numbing is a coping mechanism.
Leaders need to know that it’s just as frustrating for their employees as it is for them. Nobody comes to work every day visualizing how they can mess up and upset their manager.
What’s a leader to do?
+ Empathize. Tell them you know how crazed things are. Invite them to slow down a notch so they do have time to think.
+ Time to hire? Be mindful of workloads. If your staff has too much over a prolonged period, it’s time to hire, even if temporary. Your employees will appreciate that you recognize the issue.
+ Ask what you can take off their plate. Your willingness to pitch in goes a long way. And pay attention to your overachieving staff, who will tell you they have it under control. Often they don’t and it kills them to admit this.
By the way, odds are high that you’re overloaded, too. Make sure that your frustration isn’t being transferred to your team just because you feel stressed.