As a recovering perfectionist I really discovered that life begins (or at least gets richer) when your move out of perfectionism and where your comfort zone ends. Staying in your comfort zone doesn’t challenge you to grow.
The same holds true for teams!
Many teams play safe. So safe that the necessary risks needed to help a team grow and evolve are avoided and reduces their success. Comments like "we've always done it this way" or "let's just play it safe" or "sounds great in theory... but...." can reduce creativity, synergy and results. Perfectionism can really stifle a team's growth, confidence and outcomes.
A leader that I admire has faith in his leadership and incredible belief in his team. He said that part of his role as a leader is setting the stage, creating the safe environment and asking the right questions that will inspire his team to stretch out of their comfort zone and explore alternatives and solutions that hadn't yet been attempted. His confidence and his trust in his team allowed this team to go on and do great things. What I noted about this team was that they took more responsibility for their actions, didn't blame or finger point when a team member's idea went belly up, and, they focused on how to solve problems instead of who dropped the ball.
This leader did not expect perfection, he encouraged and modelled excellence.
When you think of these two terms, how do you define them?
What does excellence look like in action?
As you move forward in 2013, here are three tips to practice leading your team out of their comfort zone:
1) Facilitate brainstorming sessions. Find new solutions to every day problems.
2) Promote a culture of respect, trust, and communication. A learning environment.
3) Watch the language... words create behaviours. Instead of perfect... replace it with excellence.
4) Acknowledge the appropriate risks taken within the team. Be approachable and know when to lead.... and when to follow.....