How to Make Leadership Easier–Focus on the Good

(Part 5 of 7)

“What is the best way to improve your team’s performance?” I asked participants in a workshop.

“I hold weekly meetings to review our metrics,” one responded.  “Then I zero in things we could have done better.”  Other responses included:  “training and coaching,” “keep score,” “always look for improvements,” “replace marginal performers.”

The late, legendary basketball coach John Wooden would occasionally eliminate from game films all missed shots, broken plays, defensive lapses, and other mistakes.  Players would see only successful efforts.  Rather than magnify performance flaws, coach Wooden focused on successes as a way of motivating players to execute effectively. 

I’ve asked many work teams if their managers every showed up unexpectedly at their workstations.  A typical response is “Yes when we’ve screwed up something.  We can perform successfully for weeks and never see them but make one mistake and they descend on us like vultures.”

Of course, managers should address disappointing performances; but in doing so, they often fail to find the good.   

Consider starting your next meeting by reviewing what the team has accomplished and recognizing members who have performed well.

Catching people doing things right, according to author and consultant Ken Blanchard, increases both satisfaction and motivation. 

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