Ask these two questions to increase the performance of your team

Ask these two questions to increase the performance of your team

Do you wish your team was more effective? Performed at a higher level? 

If so, have you ever paused and listened intentionally to the thoughts you have about your team? Thoughts are churning in the background as you go about your day, but we’re often not aware of them. 

Do you ever think the following? 

Why don’t they get it?

Why did he send an email? I told him to manage this face-to-face. 

I’ve told them this 10 times, I don’t understand why I have to keep explaining myself.

She only cares about herself, she doesn’t care about the company.

Typical “Millennial” – working the bare minimum. Not committed. 

They are just trying to get out of doing work.

They went over my head on purpose to make me look bad.

He doesn’t respect me.

All they do is complain. No one cares about solving problems.

If they respected me, they would do what I asked them to do.

He’s not responding to my email because he doesn’t respect me as a leader.

He purposefully left me out of that meeting to spite me.

You probably haven’t made these comments out loudto anyone else, but are they humming around in the back of your mind?  

Here’s why negative thoughts about your employees might lead to lackluster results. Your thoughts cause your emotions. Your emotions cause your behavior and behavior creates results. 

But what do my thoughts have to do with the performance of our team as a whole? 

In his book, Primal Leadership, Richard Boyatzis talks about ‘emotional contagion’ and the studies showing the impact of a boss’s behavior on the rest of the team. In short, it spreads like wildfire. 

Emotions such as frustration, anger, disappointment, or irritation lead to actions such as shutting down, puffing up, or acting out through sarcasm or outbursts. 

The results that follow do not alignwith what you are probably striving to achieve. Namely, collaboration, teamwork, safety and alignment around a shared purpose. 

The next time you catch yourself feeling a negative emotion about your team, pause and consider your thoughts. 

Then ask yourself two questions (from Byron Katie):

  1. Is it true? (…that she doesn’t respect you)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (…that she doesn’t care)

If the answer is no, choose a new thought – neutral or positive. Or, switch to curiosity. Ask a question, I wonder why…?

As you go into 2019 and set goals to increase performance, make a plan for how to manage your thoughts through daily practice and watch the impact on your team. 

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