Boosters : Working Better Together

Once more, a round up of some of the content you may have missed over on our LinkedIn page, all in one handy blog.

Working Better Together Tips – Motivation

An engaged workforce is the gift that keeps on giving. Employees do their best work, apply discretionary effort, go the extra mile and have greater fulfilment. Customers are more likely to be delighted, refer and repeat and the business sees a reduction in costs and an increase in productivity. What’s not to like?

Engaging your workforce is another matter altogether. Dress-down, pizza and yoga classes are often cited as things organisations do to motivate their people and they do have a role to play. But it’s not the whole picture.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation

Say what? Internal and external motivators. And it’s the internal motivators that carry the weight. If the work aligns to values, gives purpose, challenges and develops then people will engage with it and the infrastructure (company, managers, colleagues) that provides it. 

Couple this with the extrinsic stuff; the beer, ping-pong and book club, and you won’t go far wrong but neglect it and you’re missing a trick.

Clearly engagement comprises much more than just motivation. Culture, reward, potential, purpose and people are all critical factors but reviewing your intrinsic and extrinsic motivation strategies and their effectiveness isn’t a bad place to start. Why not do it as a team?

Working Better Together Tips – Owning your contribution

You know that feeling, when you think you could have handled that conversation a bit better? How it was all planned out in your head and then it just didn’t go the way you imagined? And now you’re wondering what to do about it.

1. Stop. All this going round in circles isn’t helping. Nor is trying to carry on with other stuff whilst this is in the back of your mind. Either stop what you’re doing right now and take time to do address it or decide when you are going to deal with your thoughts – and give yourself permission to push them away when they interrupt you before then.

2. Reflect. What went well in the conversation? What didn’t? Why didn’t it? What are the consequences? Do they need remediating?

3. Act. Probably not a good idea to re-engage at this stage so use this time to decide what you are going to do and when. Even if there’s no remedial activity to take, you could still explore what you might do differently in the future.

4. Accept. Ok, it didn’t go to plan. You’ve owned it, acted on it – now accept that it happened, that you’ve learned from it and move on from it. And as the song goes… Shoulda coulda woulda are the last words of a fool.

Working Better Together Tips – People Profiling

ESTJ? Blue? Shaper?

I’m an advocate of using profiling tools within teams to help people work better together. They can help people understand themselves and others, increase awareness of preferences and encourage people to adapt their approach.

When it comes to completing them myself though, there’s a part of me that rebels. I don’t want to be labelled. I don’t want to be put in a box. I don’t want people to think I will always behave to ‘type’.

I think I used to feel that the profile would define me.

What I now appreciate is that a profile is a neat way of summarising typical traits and behaviours… and of highlighting contribution and difference. They provide a common language that is least likely to cause upset or offence and raises awareness of different approaches and styles.

They’re a brilliant activity to do together as a team and the learning can be applied in all sorts of work and non-work scenarios.

There are loads of free resources out there, as well as more robust, accredited ones. My tip – have a facilitator help you understand the outcomes. Whether an in-house L&D practitioner or an external provider, the profile only takes on its value when it is understood and engaged with so a step not to be missed!

Working Better Together Tips – Questions

Why do you do it like that?

How does that sound to you? As though you’re about to be told how you ‘should’ be doing it? Or as though they’re asking from a place of interest and wanting to learn?

When I work with teams, we agree an approach at the start and I like to throw in the mix ‘questions come from a place of curiosity, not judgement’.

In other words, if you are about to ask a question that will in some way cause the other person to feel judged, then that question is not welcome. Instead, shift to curiosity, genuine interest and a desire to learn and your question is most welcome. And if your question can’t be reframed to meet this requirement, then ditch it.

We don’t just ask questions because we want to know the answer. We ask questions because we want to know if the other person knows the answer or to show off that we do. Not nice traits. Asking questions to show up or show off. If we always ask questions from a place of curiosity, not judgement, we are more open to others’ perspectives and better able to empathise, understand and relate to others.

Next time you notice a question based on a belief of knowing better, I invite you to consider a different perspective, one where there is much to learn and be curious about.

Working Better Together Tips – Bricks in a wall

They say that we are the sum of the 6 people we spend most of our time with (ponder that!)

They also say that we are more susceptible to ‘group think’ than we consciously believe we are.

When I go into organisations, I invariably find that the people I work with are either interested and curious about what’s coming up, or they’re not. It comes as no surprise that these people hang out together too. The ones who are interested and curious spend time together, as do the ones who aren’t.

If the people we spend most time with are like us (which is highly likely given that we are attracted to people who we perceive to be similar to us) then we are invariably going to succumb to the second point, group think. We will take the view of the group and if everyone else expresses their views then we tend to fall in line.

But what if we widened our circle of influence? What if we spent more time with people who are doing things differently? Already achieving things we want to achieve. People who are starting out and taking a different approach. People who can learn from us. What could we possibly learn from surrounding ourselves with these people?

A little like bricks in a wall, where each is simultaneously supporting and being supported.

Who are the bricks in your wall?

Until next week…