Get the Most Out of Your Team with These 3 Focuses
Have you seen a circus with a human pyramid or even a small team of acrobats who are all balanced on top of one and another? It is quite magical – the concentration, the strength, the flexibility. Each member of the team is just as important as each other, everyone has his or her part to play, and the result is a collective appreciation that ripples through the audience.
Your workplace isn’t so different from this. Each member of your team contributes to the high acrobatics that you go through to turn the purpose of your business into action. And leading a team to perform these feats day after day in a concentrated, strong and flexible way isn’t something that just happens. It takes work and practise from both the leader and the team.
While this can be a complex mix of personality, leadership style and workplace culture, there are a few small things that you can do to start to improve the performance of your team dramatically.
This is the holy grail of productivity. When you get in the zone of intense concentration you can feel like you’re ploughing through the work efficiently, such are your levels of interest and precision.
Time: The first enabler of concentration is a limited timeframe. When I was first a mum and studying my Masters, I would get little pockets of time to get my work done. I dived into that time with a reverence and concentration that I had never known before. But this isn’t just me. The Pomodoro Method of concentrating on a task for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break, also calls for limiting the time that concentration is required. Are there ways that you can block up time for your team and give little mini-breaks through the day?
Choices and skill: There is something about making choices that help to keep us engaged. Do you remember the game Tetris? Every moment of that game we were asked to make decisions, and wow, I was amazed at how easily that game held my attention. It was also the increasing difficulty that kept me in thrall. It is choices and the need to use a degree of skill that makes it easier to concentrate. With that in mind, how can you add these elements into your team’s day?
Just as the team of acrobats all rely on each other, they also know each other’s strengths and use them. The strong hold up the others, the well-balanced and flexible perform bending feats at great heights.
In your team, knowing each member’s strengths helps you to get more out of your team. If you have someone with an analytical mind who isn’t exercising that skill, not only are you not getting access to all that they can offer, they may well be feeling bored. And that is a total enemy of concentration.
You can also foster your team’s strengths by acknowledging them. Letting your team members know the positive qualities you see in them not only helps them to see and work to their strengths, it also builds trust and rapport as they will feel seen and acknowledged.
Flexibility and balance
One thing that makes the acrobat troop’s performance so amazing are those body bending, balanced positions that fill us with awe: where the audience collectively breathes in with a rush. Flexibility and balance are key.
Just so in your team. While as a leader you may have a strong vision of what the outcome is going to look like and how you are going to get there, your team is a dynamic and intelligent group of people. They come with their ideas, skills, energy levels and passions. Being willing to be curious about your team and flexible in your response based on what you learn will bring a greater energy and level of respect.
Balance is also necessary here. Watch your team, see if members are getting stressed, overwhelmed or have a ‘can’t be bothered’ vibe come over them. These are all warning signs that the balance is out. When these factors are at play, performance will drop. Finding ways to pull back the demands, even if just for a few moments, will help to restore the balance and longevity of your team.
Each day you and your team are doing amazing things. As the curtain drops and the roar of the crowd echoes in your minds, take a moment to celebrate the wins – the things that you have accomplished together. These moments of recognition for what you have done will fuel the motivation to do it all again.
Image by Mark Turner under a cc licence