Management Matters: Maintaining Focus

One only need to turn the television on or receive an email or text on your PDA to become distracted. In today’s world, the distractions inside and outside of the workplace can be too numerous to list -- Whether it is heated office gossip, political rhetoric, or the latest hacking scandal. The obvious question then becomes, how can you maintain focus and productivity for employees in a world that at times can have distractions at every turn?

It can be easy for what was once a casual conversation over coffee before the morning meeting to turn into heated discussion that can carry on throughout the work day or even week. Productivity suffers, egos may be bruised and professional relationships can suffer. How does a leader maintain and foster a healthy workplace for his or her employees in today’s world? I suggest by sticking to the basics. Just because the world may feel like it is spinning off of its axis doesn’t mean you and your employees have to forget Newton’s basic law of gravity.

Here are my tips:

  • Rally the troops around organization goals. It is easy to have the annual goal setting meeting, however it is key to check-in and measure throughout the year. This is a time to remind employees of their roles and responsibilities and how they support the larger vision for the department and ultimately the company. As well as a time to get input from employees about what is working and what is not.
  • Do team builders. This is a great time to step outside of the traditional work day and do something different and fun. Employees can experience a different side of their leaders and team members. Create new engagement and possibly shake-off any negativity or awkwardness from work related situations.
  • Encourage your employees to take breaks. Although this may sound alarming at first, this will give employees a chance to clear their minds and recharge. This also communicate to employees that they are valued and their manager is making an investment in their wellbeing. Studies show employees who feel valued or more willing to invest and put effort in their work.

It is estimated that on average, we have approximately 60,000 thoughts per day -- That equates to one thought per second. And that does not include the external distractions. On average you spend 40+hours each week with your co-workers in one week. And this can equate to approximately 1,520 hours per year. Therefore, fostering a healthy workplace is not only essential, but a must to ensure productivity and engagement and maintain focus.

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management training and development consulting practice that specializes in developing human resources in the areas of leadership and management training, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 20 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at

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