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Being a square profile in a round hole

Its been a hot topic this week at TDHQ, as we have been discussing when, as team members, we are in and out of flow ourselves and what we need to do, to co-create flow for one another.

So what does  it feel like to be a square profile in a round hole? When we ask this question, so many of our clients and friends have experiences that they can share with us, from a time long ago, or, even quite recently as we discovered with one of our clients…

A Supporter profile we know, who is a Business Development Manager shared this inexplicable strory with us. Extremely outgoing, warm, great at building new connections (as Supporters generally are) and even better at generating sales, he returned from a holiday, fresh and ready to get out and about, meeting clients and hitting his sales targets. On his return however, on the Monday, he was asked to ‘bring his paperwork up to date’ before meeting any new clients. Taking him twice as long to do this, as a more organised and effecient Accumulator would, not only did he lose his post holiday sparkle but he didn’t make any sales that week, as he couldn’t leave the office until it was done! It actually resulted in him leaving that position, as it was’t allowing him to create the flow he knew he could for the company, or have any fun in the role for himself.

An extreme example, maybe but at least this client recognised he was out of flow because he understands the value that he brings to a team. He was able to make a more positive move for himself. How many other employees, stay in roles that take them out of flow, ultimately creating a lack of harmony in the team, which can destroy productivity and profitability?

Over time, being out of flow for a long period of time can really create high levels of stress, one of the highest causes of work related absence in the UK.  This client shared her experience.  “My previous role was like working with a strait jacket on. Being a creator I felt stifled at having to conform to the ‘this is the way we do things’ mentality. I was expected to maintain the status quo, keep my mouth shut and not rock the boat. The result being I went off sick with stress, the company lost a talent they sorely needed…”

Recognising that you or a member of your team are out of flow is a first and really important step to deciding what can be done next. There are many tell tale signs to look out for and here are just a few…

  • Levels of stress are being seen – this is very different to pressure which most people can cope with, Stress is something that is much harder to deal with
  • Becoming tired and lacking in energy generally.
  • Turning up late and leaving early.
  • Higher levels of disagreement than normal in the team, tempers flaring and unusual behaviours
  • Increased levels of staff turnover. People often leave when they don’t feel valued, they go where they can be more valued and can perform better
  • Decreases in Productivity, sales and overall results

When you see that individuals in your team are out of flow, remember the only way someone can be in flow, is if you put them into flow… so think about the role and the accountabilities you have given them.  What could they be doing that would allow them to have more fun, speed up their results, feel they are able to contribute more and will allow them to create a better result for the rest of the team?

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