Why the secret to a successful team is trust
Distractions are a real problem in the modern working world. We have these amazing technological tools that allow us to do so much, but at the same time are constantly competing for and intruding on our attention. If you feel that tech is getting in the way of you being able to find true depth of thought – and get to grips with those tasks that we need to do, you’re not alone!
It’s a problem for employers and employees alike. Employers want their team to be able to do their best work possible, and employees want to deliver for their company because that’s the fastest route to personal success, too.
In an attempt to deal with the problem of distractions, some employers have turned to workplace surveillance using technology to monitor emails, working patterns, and see what their teams are doing. Some employers even use webcams to keep an eye on how long employees spend at their desks.
A problem that leads to another
This may be done with good intention at heart, (to make sure that people are delivering), the negative consequences far outweigh the positive. Monitoring in the workplace is an attempt to make people feel what’s called social pressure – if we feel like we’re being watched we are more likely to act in what we deem to be the correct way. When people are watched, they tend to behave in a way that goes along with their idea of what other people want from them.
An employer who monitors their team in an attempt to get the most out of them is actually preventing their employees from doing their best work.
In a data-driven society, this gives employers access to facts and figures on their employees’ work and allows them to have conversations based on that data. But the problem with both of these methods is that it is ultimately ruling by fear.
Making people fear the negative consequences if they don’t do something may seem like a quick fix and a simple route to success, but the long-term consequences are so unbelievably negative.
Surveillance is counterintuitive
When we feel afraid we have a biological and a physiological response that negatively affects the thoughts and mental processes that help us to do our best work.
In the knowledge-based economy, 3 key elements contribute to an employee’s success:
- Creativity and problem-solving: the ability to think through difficult things and come up with solutions
- Emotional intelligence: the ability to work and relate well with others
- The ability to learn: being able to assimilate new information, tools, and techniques.
When we feel afraid, our biology shifts and our fight and flight response kicks in. And when this happens, all those faculties in the brain – creativity, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, the ability to learn – switch off.
So, an employer who monitors their team in an attempt to get the most out of them is actually preventing their employees from doing their best work. Sure they will be physically present. They may be sitting at their desks in front of their screens, but that does not correlate whatsoever to doing work of any quality.
Because here’s the thing. When we take a step back and we think about what problem we’re trying to solve, we see that we can’t solve one problem with another. Ruling by fear is equally detrimental to the workplace, as the original distractions we were trying to combat.
Ruling by fear is equally detrimental to the workplace, as the original distractions we were trying to combat.
Empower through trust
What we really want to do is make sure that individuals have freedom from distractions so that they can find focus and depth of thought. And this allows us to not only solve the problem of distraction but also develop the antidote to that fear of being constantly watched.
At Freedom, we believe that the antidote is trust. Trust is a feeling of safety – believing that you will be given the benefit of the doubt. When we feel trusted and valued, our mental capabilities for creativity and problem solving, emotional intelligence, and ability to learn– can all be at their fullest.
Study after study has found that people who are watched at work are more tense, less creative, less likely to be engaged with their job, and more likely to leave.
The long-term corrosive consequences of people feeling fear in the workplace are that business performance will reduce in the long term. But if we can develop trust, then business performance will increase over time. It’s called psychological safety and it’s a huge component of what makes a business successful.
Freedom, not fear
And that’s where Freedom comes in. Freedom is a tool that allows individuals – not the CEO, not the manager, not the supervisor –but the individual, to free themselves from distraction. By providing Freedom for your team you allow them to decide. They can free themselves from the distractions vying for their attention. The point of Freedom is not to control what your employees are doing, but rather to empower them with the tools they need to make the right choices – not only for the company – but also for themselves. When the option of doing their best work is put directly in their control –and is also the easier option – people will make that choice!
Freedom is a solution for the workplace that gives the individual the means to free themselves from distraction while feeling trusted and empowered by their employer to do so. Freedom is also highly customizable, making it the perfect tool for the modern hybrid workplace. It can, for example, be personalized for individuals who have different responsibilities and schedules when they work from home, as they do in the office.
And for those days when they’re in the office, employees can still maintain their preferred ways of working. The personalization offered by Freedom means that your team can easily adapt it to suit their preferred working patterns.
Finally, Freedom still is accountable. There’s still data that sits below it. Individuals can see how much freedom they have found and track their working patterns, and this can be a great way to open conversations between managers and employees, too.
Freedom is a tool to combat distraction, but more importantly, it allows you to build the solid foundations of any successful business – trust and engagement.
To give your team the freedom and flexibility they need to do their best work – give them Freedom!