Right now, the shape and face of companies are struggling with an uncertain future. Teams that operated comfortably are figuring out how to recreate these dynamics from a distance. At the same time, leaders, managers, and employees are being asked to maintain productivity levels while fostering a positive remote environment.
There’s no denying that embracing a positive mindset not only has clear health benefits for our employees but is necessary to create flourishing teams. The most important facet of positive thinking is understanding that it isn’t about mood or focus. It’s about what we believe is possible and what we’re capable of. We all have inner belief systems driving our behaviors. And this belief system doesn’t simply extend to our personal behaviors, but how we manage our teams and interact with our employees.
Our belief systems are made up of LIEs—Limited Ideas Entertained—and these core beliefs suppress our potential. These beliefs limit our personal productivity, but as leaders, these LIEs can inadvertently limit the productivity of our teams as well. You can see me demonstrate this in my podcast and read about it in my New York Times Bestselling book Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, & Unlock Your Exceptional Life.
"We’re all working outside of our comfort zone, and that’s a good thing. This time can be a catalyst, allowing us to confront old behaviors and develop new ones."
Because we’re in a constantly evolving present, right now is an ideal time to confront these core beliefs and turn them into behaviors that will lead our teams onto a more successful path. And we can do that with these three keys.
Key 1: Name the Limiting Belief
The first step is identifying these LIEs. Every time we catch ourselves thinking, “I can’t,” “I’m not,” or “I don’t,” we need to stop and pay attention. When thinking about our teams, these questions are the same but directed towards an individual or the group at large. These phrases are often the catalyst to our limiting beliefs.
Sometimes this voice is so quiet it’s difficult to notice. Perhaps Mary is always quiet during meetings. She’s a solid worker, always completing projects before deadline, so her not speaking up isn’t an issue. But Mary may have really good input that she isn’t bringing up. Our acceptance of her staying silent could mean we’re depriving the rest of the team, and subsequently, our overall productivity, in monumental ways. By facing this belief, we can move towards change.
Key 2: Get to the Facts
The fact is, LIEs are the dictators of our minds. They run our behaviors and rule our thoughts, but so often they are simply not true. Is Mary going to present bad ideas or say something destructive to the team? Probably not. Most likely, she’s simply always been quiet, and we accepted that belief—both from and about her.
Our role as a leader is to help identify where our employees thrive. But it’s also to help them develop in areas they may not naturally gravitate towards. By encouraging Mary to speak up in meetings, we can begin shaping how she behaves in meetings, which will extend to the team as a whole. We develop our teams by identifying strengths based on the facts and not on beliefs. Our beliefs drive behavior, but once we understand that, we can alter our behavior to create new beliefs.
Key 3: Create a New Belief
As we work towards establishing new team behaviors, we can create new beliefs to help eliminate old LIEs. It could be that letting Mary stay quiet is also partially because we believe that efficient meetings are more valuable. But if our value isn’t being maximized, the efficiency isn’t worth what we believe it is.
Instead, we can allow meetings to draw out while ideas are explored, and others are encouraged to participate more. This will be uncomfortable at times and may seem counterproductive, but the growth will instill new behaviors. Not to mention, confidence and success will build new beliefs in each employee and the group as a whole, allowing everyone to develop based on an experience as opposed to emotion.
We’re all working outside of our comfort zone, and that’s a good thing. This time can be a catalyst, allowing us to confront old behaviors and develop new ones. By working differently, we are being given the opportunity to see our teams in a new light, which will help identify surprising new strengths in our employees, our teams, and ourselves.