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Catch 'em Doing Something Right
By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

It's very easy to find flaws in your team members if you're looking for them. Some leaders make this a hobby and then wonder why things at the office don't feel good anymore. Instead of going on a Colombo-like investigation for problems, how about detecting the great things your team members do?

Many companies are caught up in what I call a negative feedback loop, where people are constantly in a defensive mode. In order to break this destructive pattern you first have to identify it. Sit down with your team and discuss how you relate, and if you agree that there needs to be a change, you are halfway to a solution.

The next step to create some emotional balance in your company culture is to catch your team members doing something right and tell them when you see it. Sometimes all it takes to break a negative cycle are a few well-chosen words. Getting a pat on the back from the company leader has been proven to be the number one motivator of staff members. The tangible proof that this technique works will show up in your bottom line.

If your team members are continually sniping at each other, I suggest that you make it company policy to eliminate that behavior. I know it sounds simplistic, but when you've only been getting negativity, just being without it goes a long way toward helping your team make a course correction. Try it for a week and I believe that you will see a significant difference in your team members, and their attitude toward the business.

Joe Phelps, CEO of The Phelps Group, is a great example of how this process works. Joe strongly encourages his team members to; "Be Kind. Be Clear. Be Constructive. Be Candid". These words of wisdom have helped his company grow to one of the top independent marketing communications companies in Los Angeles.

Taking responsibility for discord is another very powerful way of lifting your company to the next level. If people in a conflict realize that they are 100% responsible for the difficulties, it actually eliminates the issue because it gives you and your staff the ability to change how you relate to one another. Don't wait for a team member to make the first move toward changing things for the better. Take the initiative and deal with the problem directly by finding a way to give a little extra direction to everyone involved.

This method is simple, but the trick is to make it consistent. Knowing that your entire team is there and you're working through the process together will make it easier for everyone to experience the productivity that comes with cohesion.

Another good tool is realizing that you actually have a good working team, even though things may not be rosy at the moment. Circumstances that apply pressure can bring out the worst in people and sometimes you just have to get the frustration out of your system. Having some after-hours fun can help team members release a lot of pent up tension.

Success is about transitioning through problems as gracefully as possible. Having interpersonal issues doesn't mean that you are a failure, it means that you're human. Once you learn to accentuate the positive, your company culture will become inspirational.

For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and nationally syndicated author. His columns appear in over 150 publications, including the Los Angeles Business Journal. Dr. Goldsmith works regularly with The Young President¹s Organization (YPO) and The Executive Committee (TEC). Considered an expert on small business, he has spoken worldwide to groups of 10 to 5,000, and is in high demand for Keynotes, Training and Consulting. He can be contacted through his web site at: www.BartonGoldsmith.com or at (818) 879-9996.






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