Are You Constantly Focusing On The Broken Tile?
Summer time is here and I hope you are enjoying some time off. Myself, I am in the process of selling my house and one visitor, who was very interested in my house, made the following comment: “I like the quality of the renovations you made, but there is a broken tile in the kitchen…” – again hear the word “BUT” 🙂 … There are over 200 tiles in my kitchen and all he could focus on was that 1 broken tile. Out of 10 comments he made, there was only one that was positive. And yet, he was very interested in my house. What do you think it created in terms of connection between him and me? Right… not so positive.
As a leader, what are you seeing when you are looking at your employees? What are you telling them? What are you telling yourself? Are you that manager who internally knows what a good job the employee is doing, how important he/she is to the team, but can only see that one skill he/she doesn’t have quite perfectly, or the mistakes he/she made? Or can you see all the pieces, all the parts, all the contributions that employee is bringing to the team?
Are you acting like a perfectionist dwelling on the same thing that’s missing, on the same mistake, on the same poor behavior and letting these feed your internal (and external) dialogue?
Or are you more of a catalyst by looking at all the pieces and all the components and all the contributions each individual brings to the team like skills, attitude, competencies, network, knowledge, and dedication?
Remember this phrase: “that which you give attention to, grows.” Your thoughts guide your decisions and actions which creates your results. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your actions support your thoughts and impact your employees. The beauty is that when you understand this, whatever you’re paying attention to is what you are creating in your team. If you focus on the bad, you create more of it; if you focus on the good, you create more of it.
Three reasons why it’s more beneficial and more productive to choose what tiles you are focusing on:
- When you expand your vision and include all the pieces your employee brings to the team, that one broken tile becomes less daunting and your employees respond more positively.
- By focusing on the strengths of the person or what they bring to the team, you are automatically increasing the chances they repeat those skills and behaviors. When someone is using their skills rather than trying to compensate for their weakness, they are way more productive.
- When you focus on the good parts, you increase your influence on the productivity of your team because you are automatically increasing their center of focus, your center of control and so that powerful way of looking at things tends make your decisions easier.
If you have read Stephen Covey’s book “First Things First” about priorities, you learned that the center of focus is your center of control and that all other preoccupations that you have are totally outside of your control. Therefore we are often wasting energy, time, and effort looking at the broken tiles when we could be shining and making sure those other tiles get noticed more often.
Exercise of the month: Observe your thoughts. What are they focusing on? What internal dialogue are you having with yourself? Then see if you want to change it or keep it.
Have a good week!