Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Emotion Can Spur Greater Team Performance

In a recent survey, 46% of employees report they’d prefer to do anything else than sit in a team meeting, with 17% reporting they would be willing to watch paint dry and 8% saying they’d be willing to endure a root canal.
That level of dislike is a wake-up call for managers who need teams to be engaged and positive when they’re together – not  grumpy, bored and frustrated.

But how do managers inspire the right kind of emotions in team members so that it drives high-level performances?
Jackie Barretta (pictured), author of “Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance,” says research by neuroscientists on emotional systems shows that there are a number of ways that managers can jump start enthusiasm, innovation and productivity within teams.
For example, the opportunity to experience something new “jazzes people,” she explains.
Of course, that might be easy in a high-tech industry that offers continual challenges, but what about the warehouse worker who deals with the same widgets every day? In that case, Barrettasuggests periodically shifting responsibilities among workers. The forklift worker might switch with the shipping and receiving worker for a time, she explains.
Another way to maintain enthusiasm in a team involves using a “creative cycle” to organize work. She suggests that the movie industry provides a great example of how to do this as they come together to envision a blockbuster, then create it in about a year and disband when it’s done.
If you have teams that are getting bored by constantly meeting to make minor tweaks to a product, for example, you can try rotating new people in and out so that bored team members are exposed to more exciting work every once in a while. The new people brought into the team find the work novel, and that way employees stay more engaged because the leader is “looking at the work in terms of phases and cycles and adding variation to the equation,” she explains.
Another idea is incorporating play into a team’s routine. While workplaces such as Apple have been  playing games like office Nerfball since the 1970s and find the playful atmosphere sparks greater creativity, not all companies have successfully done the same. The problem, Barretta explains, is that leaders try to turn the work into play such as offering a week off to the person who first discovers a solution to a customer problem. That strategy (read more here)

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