by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
I believe that the leaders behavior in every organization is what causes communication and concentration chaos or the leader creates an organization’s environment that is conducive to focus and productive.
To all of you assistant coaches getting this newsletter, is your boss the main source of your distractions?
If you are the boss, it’s your fault. I know that sounds harsh but here’s the thing.
At the heart of it, productivity and the ability to stay focused is very much dependent upon the environment that you are operating in.
If you are constantly being interrupted during the day, the person who sets the environment up and leads the environment is the one at fault here.
This includes how communication flows, what the expectations are, and mostly the leaders own behavior.
If the boss sends a late-night email, regardless of if you expect an answer right away or not, the fact that you have sent it at that hour suggests you want an answer even if you tell them otherwise, and it will wreak havoc on their brain in the meantime.
If the boss CC’s too many people on too many trivial things, that will become the cya (cover your ass) pattern and email volume will explode in your program.
If the boss leaves a lot of open loops and email communications or project management comments, the volume of comments per task will explode.
If the boss responds too quickly, the expectation will be set to always be on alert.
If the boss sends communications at random times, the expectation will be set always be on alert.
All of these are what is called the variability syndrome.
You know the example from BF Skinner’s 1950 experiment with rats. If you feed them cheese at the same time in the same place, they show up at that time to eat the cheese merrily and then spend the rest of their day free and happy.
If you feed them at variable times, in variable places, they’ll spend the whole day searching everywhere incessantly. This causes them to be in constant distress, resulting in hypertension and early death.
This is what you’re doing to your people with your variable behavior. You are causing them to be in constant stress, disabling them to ever focus, concentrate and do deep work and you may be killing them to, if not physically (yet), emotionally, psychologically and you most certainly are having a negative effect on their productivity.
So there are a few keys to remember if you want an environment that is more conducive to focus and productivity:
#1 is to set clear expectations. What are your communication rules for email? Who needs to be included? How to respond to end loops? What is the expected response time for each different channels of communication?
#2 is forced freedom. Designate those disconnected days or disconnected hours during the day and across communication channels. Also have off hours communication rules.
#3 is your behavior. You as the leader have to set the pace. You have to be the example and demonstrate the constraints. Likely, you are the most derailing aspect that is derailing your team and causing them to stress and suffer the variability syndrome. Take an honest look in the mirror and figure out what behaviors need fixing.
I think it is worth saying again that the leaders behavior is what causes communication and concentration chaos or creates the organization’s environment that is conducive to focus and productive.
So leaders, I’m challenging you to lead a more productive environment for your team. Make sure that you jot it down the three points that I’ve outlined here,
Mandy Green works with college coaches and athletic directors around the country to help them improve productivity and get better recruiting results. She would love to hear what else you do to lead a productive environment. Email Mandy at email@example.com to set up a strategy call.