What’s keeping your team?

What’s keeping you from achieving more, being more motivated, completing that task or project?

Each one of us will have their own answer, but in an organisation, the most common answer must be meetings.

Meetings without an agenda and a list of actions to follow up with.

Meetings that are updates.

Meetings that should have been an email or a Slack message.

Meetings to give feedback on a piece of work you have never seen before.

Meetings that are workshops that aim at fixing a problem with participants who have no idea what the problem is, let alone the skill set to fix it.

If you are a manager of people, your first responsibility should be to rid their calendars of meetings.

Completely off

The way people will think of you does not depend on how productive you are, on your job title, on your responsibilities, on how much money you make, on the number of meetings you attend, on how often you share your opinion.

The way people will think of you does depend on how you make them feel when you are around.

How supportive you are.

How helpful you are.

How kind you are.

How listening you are.

How empowering you are.

Our set of values is often completely off the mark.

Funnels

You meet a lot of people, get acquainted with some of them, befriend a few, date some, and marry one.

You apply to loads of jobs, interview for some of them, get to the last stage with a few, get two or three offers, and accept one.

You get to try a lot of different things, enjoy some of them, succeed at a few, and master one.

You talk to a wide audience, get through to some of it, really resonate with a few, and influence one.

Many activities in life work like a funnel.

And when you get to the one, that’s just the time when it’s time to start all over again.

In distress

When others are not at their best, we unconsciously start a balancing act between our best self and our lazy self.

What can I do to help? is a question that comes from our best self. We feel for the other person and we want to see if there’s a way for us to help them get back on track.

Of course, the answer to that question is often vague or undefined. People who are not at their best tend not to know what they need. And that’s when our lazy self kicks in. We quickly fall into old habits, we fail to keep the distress of the other person in mind, and we eventually resorts to habits that make us comfortable and safe. Our lazy self will always end up helping ourselves.

When others are not at their best, skip that question, even if well intended. Instead, keep the fact top of mind, and avoid asking the other person a favor, don’t put additional stress on them, forget about a rule or a habit that might be making their life more complex, praise them more often and say thank you to them at any possible occasion, bring them or buy them food, invite them out for a coffee or a tea, make them feel heard and listened to.

It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s how you make your best self prevail in these delicate circumstances.

Polling employees

Making decisions using employee polls is about one of two things.

One – Management and leadership think the decision is not important enough to deserve their time.

Two – Management and leadership don’t want to have that specific responsibility.

One way or the other, it’s a bad idea. Instead, find somebody who is competent and talented, and put them in charge of figuring that particular thing out. Help them collect the opinion of those who have something to contribute, and make it clear that it’s eventually up to them to decide on the course of action. Support the final decision, measure success, and help them improve.

Polls don’t motivate, but this approach might do just that.