The pace of business is increasing, especially if your organization operates in the tech world. As a company leader, it’s your job to help team members keep up, even when it seems like everyone is running from one deadline to the next. The relentless pressure to perform under constantly changing market conditions can take its toll, unless you employ specific strategies to keep your team members and your company on track.
Michelle McQuaid, a workplace well-being teacher and psychology expert, recently spoke with Maureen McKenna at Innovation Works about the best ways to 'amp' team member energy. The goal is to create a culture where everyone shows up ready to perform at peak levels every day. Achieving this goal is not as easy as it sounds.
Empower Your Top Performers
McKenna reminds managers to think about the traditional bell curve. In any group that is taking a test or performing a task, most people fall in the middle of the pack. About 10% of folks will fall behind, and the other 10% will excel. In a period of extreme change, you’ll probably find that a few of your team members won’t be able to cope. They’ll hang onto the old way of doing things. They’ll fight technology changes. They may even deliberately try to slow progress.
As a leader, it’s your job to take care of all of your team members. But, if you slow down to try to nurture the folks who are falling behind, the entire organization will fall behind. To excel, focus on the folks who thrive on change. Your adrenaline junkies can bring the team across the finish line. Make sure they have the resources and the support they need to accomplish the goal.
Despite the best efforts of your key employees, things will go wrong. The new product release schedule will slip a week or two. Your sales team will fail to make the lofty numbers they promised to achieve. A key strategist may leave the company because she just can’t get along with the chief financial officer.
McKenna points out that just as some of us are hardwired to resist change, we’re also quick to look for ways to fix weakness. In fact, 80% of leadership time is spent on this area instead of focusing on our strengths. The team members who have lost an employee, missed a deadline, or fallen short of a goal usually know what’s wrong. Don't browbeat and harp on the problem. What they really need is a pep talk. Help them evaluate how to change course and take the right next steps in order to stay on track.
McQuaid has another tip about how to improve workplace culture by using “appreciate micro-moments.” You can check it out here.