Many team leaders ask
How can I get more out of my team?
<li>How can I get them to …</li>
- Produce more?
- Sell more?
- Create more?
- Work more?
- Do more?
If you’re not a team leader you may ask this about yourself.
You are asking the wrong question.
“More” is the default because we live in a culture that believes “more” is always “better.”
What’s not addressed:
Better for whom?
Better for what?
Why do you want more?
The Limits of “More”
It’s not just that “more” is unquantified. Although that’s certainly a problem, the bigger problem is that “more” rarely gets you what you expect, or what you really want.
(Question: Do you even know what you really want?)
For example, if what you really want is for your team to deliver more attentive client service, requiring your client service reps to work more hours will be antithetical to your outcome. Your reps will be overworked and exhausted, which is not the best recipe for delivering outstanding customer service.
If you’re a clinician who works with clients one-to-one, there’s a limit to how many clients you can take on before you run out of hours, energy, and attention.
More quantity is not necessarily more quality.
As you get more “busy” with more clients, how does your attention to each client change? Do your clients feel “more” appreciated and cared for? Or do they feel like they are being run through a factory or passed off to someone else?
“More” also runs up against limits of human capacity. At the start of my career, as a first-year law firm associate, I had a month where I billed 410 hours. That was hours billed. I slept under my desk many nights. I’d take a car home in the morning and have it wait downstairs while I ran up to shower and change.
I almost never knew what day it was. It was an isolated month, and I never came close to repeating those numbers because it wasn’t sustainable. There was certainly no way I wanted to do more.
Where “More” Leads
More tends to lead you down the path of never enough. A boss who constantly demands “more” from their employees fosters mindsets of “not good enough.”
(This applies equally if you’re the “boss” of yourself and if you’re the “boss” — i.e., parent, of kids.)
Question for yourself whether this is the mark of a leader.
Some Alternate Approaches
The questions we ask are powerful. They shape our thoughts and our outcomes.
Instead of asking how you can get more out of your team, I invite you to consider some alternative questions to ask:
How can I support my team to help each member produce their best work?
What do my team members need to show up as their best selves and to feel great about doing their work?
What can I do to nurture my team members so that they feel loved, appreciated, and supported?
By the way: if your “team” is you, or if your team is your kids, these questions still apply.
The Secret Path to More
Here’s the secret: when you can support your team members to show up at their best and when you put the conditions in place to help them do their best work, they will give you more.
They will bring more of themselves to their work. They will work with more joy and enthusiasm. And they will naturally create more opportunities for themselves and for your team.
Help people do their best work and they will give you more quality, not just more quantity.