There’s nothing stopping you.

It’s one thing to have an environment where an individual’s initiative is not discouraged. Where if your team member goes out on their own to implement a new idea, they are not punished.

It’s quite another to foster an environment where initiative is perceived as desired. To make a place where your team is cultivated, strengthened, encouraged, rewarded, to invest yourself deeply in the success of your team.

I think about team culture quite a bit, being on two teams myself – one as a leader, one as a team member. Having the benefit of both managing and simultaneously being managed, you get a different perspective on your own theories of leading a team. You see both sides of the coin, you live both sides of the coin.

This week, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to cultivate an environment where people are encouraged to solve their own problems, where they feel safe, but are consistently challenged to learn and grow and try new things. Where failure to succeed the first time results in encouragement, not punishment.

Without insincere superficial praise, without masking real problems with new distractions every week – how do you keep a team challenged and encouraged to go out and experiment a little?

How do you get a team beyond having to point out to them that no one is stoping them from trying that new idea, to a place where, when an idea occurs, the top of mind response is to feel encouraged to try it?

That’s a big swing. One environment is all about fear of risk, fear of punishment and failure. The other environment is embracing the possibility of failing, recognizing it as an opportunity to learn, and moving forward fearlessly.

Which are you creating with your actions? How do you react when someone on your team fails? What are you doing to foster and reward those that take initiative?

Overcoming Fear of the Click – And Learning Curiosity

I was at a conference last week, participating in a discussion about search engine optimization for real estate agents.  The target was to cover basics – an introduction to the concept of being found online. 

It never matters how basic you attempt to make something – there’s always someone who needs it even simpler (and those that will tell you it was too basic as well).  There was one gentleman, clearly overwhelmed by the many options available to him to be found online. 

Someone suggested that one of us leading the discussion should sit down with that gentleman and walk him through, step by step, how to establish himself on a network.  And certainly, we can do that.

But then what?  What happens when he’s ready for the next network?  Who’s going to hold his hand for that one?  And the one after that?  We can walk him through every step – or we can help him understand the concept and encourage him to explore and learn, so that he develops those skills for the future.

There’s an element of fear to overcome – and a healthy dose of curiosity that needs to be added.

Every time we click on a link, navigate to a site, submit a form online – there’s an element of the unknown, a small amount of fear.  We really don’t know what is going to happen on the other side of that click. 

And some of us have more fear than others.  Fear that we’ll ruin everything.  That we’ll get a virus, or lose all of our data.  Fear of a task of indeterminate length.  Fear of the results and repercussions of that click.

But at some point, if you think that click will get you to your goals, you’ve got to have the curiosity to overcome the fear.

I see a large lack of curiosity, the desire to explore and learn.  Agents don’t need to be web experts, certainly, but to continue to grow and develop a business in this ever increasing web based world, they need the curiosity and desire to explore in order to create a profile on a new network.  To submit a video to a site.  To post a photo, answer a question, or publish a review.

So how do we overcome that?  How do we instill the desire to explore, to have a child-like curiosity about how these things work, an awareness of our fears and risks, but the desire to push past them?

 

For another day if people using your site have excessive fear of the click, you’ve got crappy design and usability.