How to Lower Frustration and Improve Performance
Reflection is essential to improvement.
Curiosity is essential to reflection.
Focus curiosity on patterns when improving systems.
- What difficulty can you predict you’ll encounter when we do this next time?
- What can you put in place now to answer question #1?
- If you lose a key player, how will others know what to do?
- What makes getting things done difficult?
- What makes success easier?
Focus curiosity on people when improving performance:
- How can you step into a point of reluctance, a bottleneck in your work, for example?
- What happens if we just ignore this issue?
- What’s frustrating about your job? How can we minimize frustration?
- What’s fulfilling about your job? How can we maximize fulfillment?
- What’s working? How can we do more of that?
More than curiosity:
Curiosity is the beginning of improvement; new behavior is the process.
Incompetent leaders feel that talking about it changes it.
Improvement depends on action not words. What will we do differently next time?
The illusion that talk is action is the reason things stay the same.
“Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater.” Tony Blair
There’s always room for improvement.
Negative environments result from focusing on negatives and neglecting positives.
Successful leaders celebrate wins even while falling short.
Positive environments are built by celebrating improvement, not pointing out mistakes. Find something good to say, even if you’re surrounded by rotting carcasses. Don’t pretend everything’s OK. But, celebrate a win. Thank someone for putting in extra effort, for example.
Take responsibility for creating positive environments even while addressing negative concerns.
How might leaders improve systems?
How might leaders help improve the individual performance of others?
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I have noticed a significant change of others around me as I have continued to try to be more positive. Rather than always pointing out the wrong, looking for positive makes others more receptive to the correction that needs to be learned from mistakes. I find avoiding the word “you” also helpful in instructing. You sounds so much like pointing a finger at someone.
Thanks Andy. It’s great that a change in our behavior can impact others in powerful ways. What’s odd to me is that it takes us so long to realize that the topics we focus on impact the way we feel.
That is absolutely correct, Dan. My wake up moment came when my associate that works just outside my office moved her desk almost to the other end of the building. I asked her why that was and, fortunately, she had the guts to tell me how hard it was to work near me. That my anger and negative attitude was dragging her down. Now we have others coming back to our corner of the office because we and a couple others in this area also are laughing so hard.
Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s encouraging on multiple levels.
Dan, congratulations on the word CURIOSITY. Not much seems to be written or known about it…except that it is key in education especially of our young, and like you say “it is the beginning”–the genesis of everything, like motivation, discovery, science, self-revelation, and even forecasting the future, etc. CURIOSITY is a powerful leadership quality not often attributed to leaders…except here, by YOU.
Thanks Books. Your encouragement means a lot to me.
As I read your comment I thought about how “knowing” ends curiosity. Maybe we should just pretend we don’t know, if we have the courage.
Dan, you must coin your words as an adage: “Perhaps “knowing” ends curiosity. Maybe we should just pretend we don’t know, if we have the courage.” Very wise universal words.
Your words, Dan, remind of the conversation Aristotle had with Plato. Aristotle said: “Apart from the known and the unknown–what else is there?”
And, Plato answered, “Well, I’ve taught you everything you know, but not everything I know.”
That’s how I felt, Dan, after reading your wonderful comment to my response. Thank you.
Talks are not enough, one need effort and action to overcome frustration. I agree that patters are important to understand picture. They provide the route for either frustration or improvement. Improving system takes two pronged strategy. One is about making system that takes care of facilities to create better mechanism to help people. Two is about ensuring that such system is being practices the way it has been designed to execute. And leaders generally fail on second part. They make better system but its monitoring and execution becomes questionable. They feel that it will automatically be taken care of. In fact, monitoring and audit is very essential to make system improved.
And this is the way, where performance of individual is improved. It sets the accountability of each person placed in the system. When individual understands clears what he or she is supposed to do and how he and she is responsible, I think system will automatically improve.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. It’s so true. Success requires a system that monitors progress. A key factor to success is determining how and who monitors progress.
Excellent post! Reflection and thoughtful consideration is important, and should proceed action. You are also correct that talking about fixing something and actual executing the plan are sometimes far apart. One of the reasons that I see for this distance is an unhealthy fear of failure. Anytime you are growing an organization and challenging engrained systems and processes, mistakes are surely going to happen. Learn from the mistakes; ask the right questions; celebrate the small victories! Two steps forward and one step back still moves your organization in the right direction. Consistently doing that will put your organization ahead of the pack.
Celebrate performance wins and stand still, recognize them so be sharp as a leader. Listening in, tuning in to what helps people to improve performance. Just ask my fellow team members about what may help them along the way. How can I accommodate them in that, in what respect can I fulfill their needs and wants. I want to serve them…and at the same time develop my own skills by reflection. Time for myself is needed now and then!
Good piece! It’s about having a culture where continuous improvement is the norm, and where mistakes are seen as inevitable, and part of the process of innovation. NOT LEARNING from mistakes, on the other hand, is discouraged, to say the least! So – everyone gets to share and be open about mistakes, and everyone is open to feedback, including between internal departments. Then the positive energy flows, and magic happens!
When I am dealing with my students, I rebuke them when committing mistakes but remind them their mistakes are their opportunity to grow and become a better person. As a teacher, it is a reminder that we should be more focus in drawing out the potentials of our students and assisting them to improve their strengths. this topic also applies in education.
Now the question would be, what should anyone do in an environment which does not promote anything you describe so accurately in your article but focusses on the cosmetics aspects of it ? I know it may seem unlikely, but hypothetically, what to do ?