Ever find yourself thinking, “If they would just do _____, then we can make progress and I can feel good about the direction we’re headed.”

Concerned that you’ll keep getting the same results with a particular person (or people), you keep trying to get them to show up earlier, stay later, put more effort into each project, communicate better, and care more about their results.

Frustrated with your team’s results and their lack of progress, it’s seems easier to ramp up your intensity and demand better results. After doing this for the umpteenth time, and with various people, it finally clicks—this approach doesn’t work.

In fact, in many cases it decreases performance, further irritating you and making you second-guess your decision to hire (or not replace) this person. The cycle continues until finally someone or something breaks down, and you either split ways or a miracle happens.

A miracle, in this case, is a new set of thoughts, behaviors and actions that lead, over time, to new results.

If you’ve tried getting better results by pointing out all the problem areas over and over, try refocusing your attention and comments on what they’re doing that works and ask them what they need to get even better results.

While it is almost second nature to focus on problem areas, it’s often more constructive to play up strengths. In the process of changing your perspective, you will likely also see new actions you can take to lead the team to even better results.

The foundational ingredient for progress in all relationships is trust. Tossing fear around does the opposite of building trust, and the two cannot co-exist. When you trust they’re giving their best (and most people are, given the information and training they have), your approach will shift in two specific ways.

Rather than putting any more time or attention to the fear of not reaching your goals, you’ll start asking three different questions:

  1. What do I need to do differently?
  2. What are my team members doing that really works?
  3. How can I help them get even better results?

This subtle change from fear to trust rarely comes overnight, but as it grows in strength the results are worth it. Over a relatively short duration, the energy level of your team increases, along with their dedication to improvement.

Freeing yourself (and them) from fear of—

… not being good enough

… loss of community

… loss of opportunity, etc

—allows new ideas and behaviors to make their way into your (and their) thought process.

New ideas lead to new actions, which cannot help but lead to new and improved results.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister