If you’ve just started your journey to your dream, you’re probably full of enthusiasm and excited about every task ahead of you.
If you’ve been working on your dream for a while, that may not always be the case. You’ve likely fallen into a routine that works fairly well for you, celebrate small victories and generally try to keep your mind in the present.
You involve your team when you deem necessary, but also still have a significant amount of work you keep for yourself. All of these can be healthy habits, if done right, but you may be developing some bad habits and thought patterns that will hold you back from your potential, or delay your progress without you realizing it.
Even self-made billionaires have learned the best way to head off these roadblocks is to give yourself a “productivity check-up” periodically.
Here are the top three behaviors to look for when you’re running diagnostics on your declining efficiency, success rate or happiness:
1. Micromanaging your team.
It’s incredibly important to design a way to vet those you collaborate with in a way that works for you – that is, a way that results in you trusting their abilities. Without this trust, your whole project could be held back.
If you’ve hired teammates, vetted them, initially trusted them, but then lost that trust by no fault of those you work with, you may be suffering from this common destructive thought pattern. Usually the signs of this are:
- Having an urge to micromanage your team, or check in with them on the status of projects multiple times a day
- Feeling critical of their work, or the desire to make unnecessary changes according to your personal preference frequently.
- Noticing that teammates seem nervous or reserved when updating you on project status, more so than when you first started working together.
Fix it: The best way to fix this is to first, review the work in their portfolio that you loved when you hired them, and compare it to what they produce for you. Recognize that it’s of the same quality. The next is a bit harder – tell them how you’re feeling. Opening up to your team about your love for the project you share, and how it’s tampered with your judgement recently will serve as a genuine apology, but also tie them closer to the team emotionally. Lastly, recognize that being sustainable is much more important than being perfect – and you need a team for that!
2. Judging rank before substance.
This is an easy one to fall into, especially if you’ve done a significant amount of time in the corporate world.
When you’re discussing your company, your goals and your plans with another person, and they offer advice, do you listen first? Or do you first mentally weigh their status (professionally or otherwise) before really attempting hear them? What a great way to miss out on key insights that could spark a great new product, or save your brand from disaster.
Fix it: Successful people seek out the advice of the most unqualified people you can think of. I’ve had great success “immunizing” myself against this by regularly discussing my business plans and marketing with the young children of my friends and family members, and asking them for advice with problems. And you know what? Sometimes four year olds can solve problems much faster than adults obsessed with details.
3. Being a closed book.
If you hold back from sharing problems with your team because you think it’s either an inconvenience or above their “paygrade,” think again. In a recent survey, over half of American employees said they want their boss to improve their communication.
The more you share with your team, the more they trust that you won’t surprise them with a last-minute emergency, and – even better – the less you need to! By letting them in, you also foster a healthier company culture by instilling trust, openness and acceptance between colleagues.
Fix it: It can be incredibly hard to open up to people if you’re uncomfortable with it. Allow yourself to take baby steps – but don’t let yourself make excuses. Start with small steps; focusing on replying to status updates with your own status is a great first step. Ask for help on smaller projects when you’re feeling underwater.
I’m sure you’ll be blown away by how eager people are to come to your aid – everyone wants to feel needed, especially by their employer and co-workers.
You might notice a theme here – these are all about healthy communication. I am a firm believer that no one is an island, and if you try to be one, you’ll soon drown in all the work you only trust yourself to complete. So open up. Let your team help you – that’s what you hired them for.