Stuck in a Rut? Find Inspiration in your Team

August 10, 201410:01 pm303 views

As a team lead, supervisor or manager, sometimes your team falls into a cycle of underperformance. How do you restore performance?

Another cup of coffee, brainstorming session, and cycle of worn-out ideas? Your team may be in a rut. Ruts are human nature and are common in all areas of life. Everyone falls into them from time to time, but the longer we stay in that rut, the longer and deeper it takes to dig your team out of it. So what can you do about?

How can you inspire new perspectives and push your team to gain back their creativity and edge? And how can you help prevent the group from falling into one again?

Fix Problems

The first step to fixing any creative ideas within the team, is diagnosing what the problem is. Have you managed teams where there is a lack of trust and commitment between the members? Some members may be cautious and not open to others opinions leaving the group dynamic unhealthy influencing the performance and productivity of group.

To avoid such damaging effects on the team and the individual members, you must observe the team dynamics and opinions. Is the team acting differently to past interactions? What has changed within the group dynamics: environment, situation, extraneous various and individual problems? Is there anything you can do to help fix potential underlying problems?

Figure out how each individual shares their ideas. Reevaluate old ideas; can ideas be reconstructed and resuscitated? An idea may not be beneficial to one project but highly beneficial to another.

Same Old, Same Old

It is common for teams to get worn-out for various different reasons. Much of the time the members feel like they have done this all before; they are seeing the same data, partaking in meetings with the same people, and having similar conversations.

You can get your group members back into the swing of things by changing the environment, adding in a new phase and creating a sense of change to allow creativity and passion to reignite. Rethink what you are doing and go back to the drawing board.

Focus Attention

It is common for teams to loose interest or drift into thought when in brainstorming sessions. Open up new types of sessions with goals and opportunities for members to give as many ideas as they can with no hesitation. By encouraging more ideas, the team can then wean out the ideas and create one strong one. Defining the task is important for the team to have a clear insight on what the customer wants. It enables less time wasted and more creativity.

Adopt New Perspectives

Most of us tend to become creatures of habits –  we watch the same shows, eat the same lunch with the same people, follow the social media feeds and read the same newspapers magazines and online blogs. A rut may be the cause of living in unfiltered worlds. 

Create opportunities for your team to grow – open their minds to new perspectives and points of views. Interact with members of different teams and learn from one another. 

Avoid the Fear of Failure

Another common reason to get stuck in a rut is your team’s fear that their ideas aren’t good enough. The fear of failing hinders the team from expressing their ideas and opinions. It is important to create environments where employees can share their ideas without a fear of inferiority. Motivate your employees to give abstract ideas and think out the box. All ideas are important and employees should be made to feel accepted with no fear of failure.

Any questions or comments? Contact Bronwen.  This is an abridged version of the Harvard Business Review article “What to Do If Your Team Is in a Rut“.

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