Rumour has it, like yawning, productivity can be contagious too! Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story. As a fresher at work, once in a while, I’d be caught up in a project that would be really, really important. With sleepless nights and cups of coffee for company, teams I’d be a part of would work very hard and get the job done perfectly. Now, if this scenario sounds familiar to you, you’re probably expecting me to talk about the complaints that followed.
But sadly, none ever did. Every project completion was celebrated with smiles.
Sounds strange. Doesn’t it? What if I told you that you and your team have been working hard pretty wrong all this while?
Allow me to let you into a little secret. The secret that all happy and productive teams have actually. Team Flow!
Flowing through the team
According to Hungarian research psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the discoverer of ‘Flow’, “the overwhelming proportion of optimal experiences are reported to occur within sequences of activities that are goal-directed and bound by rules—activities that require the investment of psychic energy… Often hours seem to pass by in minutes; in general, most people report that time seems to pass much faster.”
Now, while a lot of us believe that Flow is a rather individual process, it isn’t quite so. Starting from surgeons and ending with army officials, instances of achieving Team Flow are many. Remember that time you all worked to meet the deadline that seemed impossible to achieve? That time when you registered little apart from what you had to do – working hard, determined to do your best so that the piece of the puzzle you were responsible for fit in seamlessly at the end of the day? And when you were done, you realised that every single person in your team had done a job so good, that it was absolutely perfect!
Well, that’s Team Flow for you.
While the thought of contagious productivity can be extremely intriguing, it isn’t particularly easy to figure how you can get your team in the Flow state. But thankfully, there are ways to get there.
- The power of communication: While having tasks and deadlines in place is obvious, it is important to communicate goals and deadlines very clearly.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of insignificant tasks: Even though there’s always a larger objective to achieve, it is very necessary to keep track of all the small tasks that need to be done. At the end of the day, every little detail is important and skipping one might just make you fall flat on your face.
- Feedback matters: Though being in the zone is fun, it doesn’t work well unless all your team members know how they are doing. You see, doing the work isn’t ever enough. Unless you know if a task has been completed successfully, you’ll never be sure of what to do next. And when you don’t know what to do next, your productivity takes a blow.
- Don’t test your limits: Expertise exists for a reason. And while getting into flow that is exactly what makes you tick. At times, even testing your abilities can do wonders. But in case you aren’t skilled enough yet, it will only stress you out. Be sure you never bite off more than you can chew.
- Team power: A great team makes getting into the flow state easier. At the end of the day, if you don’t have to worry about someone taking advantage of the others, it is much easier to concentrate on the task at hand. It really feels great to know that your team will have your back!