Working Slower


By Neal Glatt 

There are times when managers have no choice but to jump into the field and lend a helping hand to meet some pressing obligations.  And while most managers bring a big boost of productivity in this times, I never personally contribute that way.  My goal when I have to perform a critical task outside my role is to work slower.  Here’s why it’s the best strategy ever…

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The key reason why I work slower is because if I’m performing duties outside of my role it means something has gone wrong.  Either we don’t have the manpower available (because we made them feel undervalued and quit) or the manpower available isn’t competent enough to perform the task (because we haven’t trained them well enough).  Either way, the problem lies with us as managers.

So I leverage the opportunity to be hands-on not to perform work as quickly as possible because I can, but rather to work slow and remedy those two workforce problems.  I enter “training mode” where workers are protected from all the time pressure of the job and we slowly demonstrate every step of every process.  Work is frequently paused to explain the reasoning that tasks occur and work is done in specific ways.  And, when something is completed, we often undo the work so it can be redone without my involvement while I supervise and provide feedback.

The other benefit of slowing work down is that there is plenty of time to express appreciation for everything that employees are doing well.  That may be as simple as being open and receptive to instructions or exercising care in delivering quality work.  Whatever behavior is occurring that I would like to see replicated I affirm, complement, and reinforce.

Working slowly is like saving money.  In the moment, it requires discipline and doesn’t deliver immediate gratification.  Something must be sacrificed in the short-term, but there are real benefits in the long-term.  When I work slower, it’s usually only once or twice with an employee on any given task because they become empowered to run the show on their own after that point.  It’s like earning compound interest.

The solution to not having enough time and people to complete all of the obligations is to slow down, not speed up.  Taking this counterintuitive approach to dedicating resources and effort to training, especially when it feels like we can’t, is the way to empower organizations to break the vicious cycle of always playing catch up. can help with our library of resources designed to speed up training and deliver education without direct manager instruction.  If you need better people on your team, slow down their work day by just 15 minutes and let them watch something here that applies to their role.  I promise you’ll see compounding results on your investment every time.

Tags: education , Training , Productivity , Training Mode ,