One Thing You Can Do to Improve Team Performance

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Why do most teams and organisations under-perform? Even if you hired all the right people into your team, your team might still under-perform because of one reason.

When I say “under-perform??? I mean the teams or organisations fail to perform their best beyond what they are already doing today.

So what is the primary reason that most teams under-perform?

The primary reason for under-performance in teams and organisations everywhere is this thing called FEAR.

All you have to do is look around you in your office. Are people comfortable speaking up in-front of the boss? Do most people keep quiet during meetings when the big boss is present? Is the office generally very quiet all day, with very few people talking and interacting – because they are afraid of who might hear what they are saying? And when you conduct team meetings, and you invite feedback, suggestions and comments, do most of your team members say they have no comments and just keep quiet?

Well, these may be signs and symptoms that FEAR has a strangle-hold on your team and is lurking in your office environment.

Why talk about Fear? Why is it important?

Well, it is important because fear is the one thing that prevents most people from reaching their true potential. Fear is a very powerful emotion and it produces two very powerful responses: Fight or Flight. When we fear something, we will either fight our way out of the situation or we will take flight and run away. In most cases, particularly within the corporate environment, our usual response is to take flight and “run”.


Fear is a very powerful emotion and it produces two very powerful responses: Fight or Flight


Fear is commonly perpetuated by bosses or colleagues who behave badly. I did a straw poll on workers and found that between 5% and 10% have encountered or worked with someone who behaved badly in the office. The situation becomes a lot worse when you have to put up with a boss who behaves terribly.

In fact, this underscores a key reason why many teams and organizations under-perform today.

Sometimes fear can be so extreme that it paralyzes people in the office.
Watch this YouTube Video of an extreme case of bullying and fear mongering. http://youtu.be/m8xt30pENQA

Those of you who are based here in Singapore would be familiar with this incident and this video.
Yes, it actually happened here in Singapore.

If you are a Manager or a Leader of a team, reflect on these questions to determine if you are unconsciously perpetuating fear to those around you:

  • Do you vent your frustration at your colleagues or on the things around you when you are in a bad mood?
  • Do you micromanage your employees?
  • Do you talk down to others during a meeting?
  • When someone suggests an idea during meetings, do you laugh and mock at them for bringing up stupid ideas?
  • Do you always feel more superior than your team members and colleagues?
  • Do you demand that things be done your way?
  • Do you yell and scream at your subordinates or colleagues?
  • Do you threaten them with pay cut and employment termination when things don’t go the way you expect?

In many cases, we as Leaders and Managers are unaware of the ways we perpetuate fear in our staff. Leaders and managers unconsciously perpetuate fear through their behaviours leading to an atmosphere of mistrust and distrust.

 


We as Leaders and Managers are unaware of the ways we perpetuate fear in our staff


If you want your teams to reach their full potential, you need to foster a high trust – low fear environment because people communicate and perform best when they feel safe and trusted around their leaders.

A safe environment is a place that fosters the meeting of minds, an incubator of great ideas, and a crucible of performance excellence.


A safe environment is a place that fosters the meeting of minds, an incubator of great ideas, and a crucible of performance excellence


So take time to sit back and reflect on yourself, and ask yourself if you are unconsciously creating a fear-based environment within your team, office or organisation.

And if you are, perhaps it is a good time to make some changes to the way you communicate with your staff and colleagues. Build a high-trust and low-fear environment and watch your people soar to greater heights.

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June 23, 2015

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