If you wear glasses, you know that owning two pairs is good practice. If your focus is on increasing collaboration and cohesiveness within your team, get ready to try on a new look! The goal? Cultivate collaboration and boost creativity, work performance, and passion.

Perfecting Our Critical Eye
When we observe performance (our own and that of others), we tend to focus on what was missed or not done right. In management, the sharper our critical eye, the faster we climb the ladder. This means we have our critical pair of glasses on, and we have been trained to keep these on both at work, home, and play. And where does this leave the team? How is this perceived?

If you are not sure, here are some good indicators. Behind the scenes, do team members:

  • Guard their work from others (avoid sharing)
  • “Tear apart” the work of their peers
  • Take longer to deliver
  • Work long hours as a result
  • Expend more energy than required (which often translates into stress)

In this less-than-perfect work environment, creativity and human flourishing (which fosters creativity) are stifled and individual and team performance suffers–all because of the fear of not meeting the expectations of the “critical eye.”

Strategies for Using Your Positive Pair
Having a second pair is critical! Every member of the team needs to use the right pair in the right situation. They need to learn to put on the pair of glasses that sees and recognizes critical details of effort, hard work, and exceptional performance (which is usually found in the details).

  1. Set clear, attainable, and realistic expectations.
  2. Put your positive pair of glasses on.
  3. Train your “positive eye” and share findings!
  4. Communicate the importance of sharing ideas and work in progress without criticism (ideas for improvements are welcome).
  5. Buy a positive set for each person on your team.
  6. Schedule meetings where team members can share their “positive eye” findings.

Tip: At the start, lead the team to only share positive ideas or feedback on their own work in progress and that of their peers. This will help increase the level of trust in the team.

Reminder: The goal is to boost creativity, work performance, and passion, and to cultivate collaboration.

Introduce the concept of having two pairs of glasses to your team. Cultivating team collaboration can only be accomplished if we learn to share ideas, respect each other, celebrate the good, and work on improving together. It is the only way.

How Well Do You Deliver Negative Feedback?
My 90-minute proposal entitled “Leaders, Get Your Teams Ready to Feedback!” and my 20-minute roundtable proposal entitled “Use Feedback to Cultivate Trust and Collaboration!” were selected for presentation at THE Performance Improvement Conference, April 20-23, 2012, at the Sheraton Centre Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Then add: For more information, visit www.ispi.org/AC2012.

About the Author
Sonia Di Maulo, MA, founder of Harvest Performance (www.harvestperformance.ca), feedback enthusiast, speaker, performance improvement professional, and creator of award-winning programs, is passionate about helping leaders cultivate trust and collaboration. Her proven 3 plus 1 feedback strategy harvests passion and boosts individual and team performance. You may contact her at sonia@harvestperformance.ca, on Twitter, or Linkedin.