5 Ways Leaders Can Improve Employee Productivity

By: Rachel Melson

In every position I’ve ever occupied, I have seen coworkers waste time in so many ways. Admittedly, I’ve even fallen victim to these antics in my younger years. Regardless of the type of work, this behavior was present at times and absent at others. It got me wondering, “Why is that? What was it about these scenarios that differed and what was the same?”

In my experience, it comes down to leadership. Leaders set the tone for the attitudes, drive, and success of their subordinates. Bad leaders cause apathy and create robots or “yes men.” Good leaders empower, coach, and unify. These leaders get results. The following are a few ways these leaders create better productivity (and employee satisfaction).


This can be as easy as setting goals for a shift or even revealing the notion of a plan. This doesn’t have to be a two-year strategy. Simply conveying the fact that the whole group is in unison, moving in the same direction helps provide a “team” mentality. This simple measure shows employees that there is someone steering the ship.

Proper Personnel Placement

Too often employers try to force a square peg into a round hole. Positive results occur if leaders take the time to define a position and seek the specific person who can fulfill it. Placing an employee in a position where they feel confident and qualified enables them to fulfill your expectations. This sets your employees up for success and makes them more effective.


Leaders setting an expectation of quality communication is foundational to success. This does not mean demanding overcommunication or micromanaging. These behaviors can impede quality performance and cause employee frustration. The best leaders are those that communicate a clear goal and enable employee feedback. Communication in this manner allows employees to feel respected instead of inferior and replaceable.


This is a concept that many companies often undervalue. “Scope creep” is one of the biggest causes of wasted time. The best way to avoid scope creep is to clearly define expectations for each person. Without these defined boundaries in place, you run the risk of employee confusion and slow progress.


This may be one of the most important concepts to develop as a leader. Employees cause negativity when they feel undervalued and underutilized. They often become robotic and apathetic. This not only reduces how effective they are, but ends up affecting retention and company reputation. When leaders see their employees as an asset, those employees will shine. They will work hard and give back. Their creativity will flow and their productivity will flourish.