What is Flow?
The concept of "FLOW" was proposed by the psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihály.
Basically, it’s a state of mind your employees achieve when they are fully immersed in a task, forgetting about the outside world.
So What Does Flow At Work Look Like With Your Team?
- They are completely focused on the task at hand;
- They forget about themselves, about others, about the world around them;
- They lose track of time;
- They feel happy and in control; and
- They are creative and productive.
How Can I Help My Team Flow At Work ?
1. Make Sure They Are Doing What They Love.
If your employees are not doing something they are passionate about, they will never find flow. Only hire employees who want to work in your industry and love their jobs. Encourage employees that don't fit this mould to consider a career change. You're doing them (and you) a favour in the long run.
2. Choose an important task.
Always give each employee an important task to do above and beyond their normal duties. Be clear in explaining the task and make sure they understand how it aligns with the bigger picture. This could be as simple as becoming responsible for maintenance of equipment or training new employees through to a developing a marketing plan for the business.
3. Make sure it’s challenging, but achievable.
Make sure the task is challenging and a stretch for the employee but doable within their current skills. You want the employee to feel pushed but don't want them to loose concentration or confidence by failing.
4. Create Routines.
For regular tasks, employees need to create and complete a clear routine so they can simply roll into work and focus on the task at hand.
5. Eliminate Distractions.
Avoid distracting the employee with conflicting priorities or interruptions. Encourage them to focus on one thing at a time, do it well and move on to the next task.
6. Create Fun.
Flow dies in a environment that's not fun. Think of ways to create fun and laughter in the workplace so employees can achieve tasks with a smile on their faces.
Make sure you recognise employees who work in the flow and highlight this behaviour to everyone in the business as an example. This approach will then spread throughout your organisation naturally.
8. Practice What Your Preach.
Employees learn what is acceptable in the workplace from watching the boss. There is no point asking them to be in the flow of productive focus if you are running around like a headless chook. Focus and practice the techniques yourself.
Flow sounds like modern management mumbo jumbo but it's positive organsational results are well-documented. Not only will your business perform better but both you and your employees will be happier too.