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How Managers Can Use Psychology to Build a Happier, More Productive Team

“How can I get the most out of my team, while making sure everyone is still highly positive, and most importantly, happy?”

by Nazarena Luzzi Castro — Posted on July 13th, 2018

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Does this question sound familiar? Recently, I’ve been asking it a lot.

I’ve always been interested in human psychology. Had I not signed up for my first design class on a whim, I might never have fallen in love with the balance of colors, shapes, lines, etc. and instead studied the inner depths of the human mind. Lucky for me, I ended up studying both in the end. Who knew design and psychology could be so interrelated?

In the past year, I stepped into a management role and my dream of becoming a psychologist came to life. Well, not really, but I did get to learn about the human mind and what motivates us in a much more meaningful way by closely analyzing each one of my team members. In fact, diving into how the human mind works has made me more engaged and happier at my job than ever before.

Understanding the psychology of the team and what drives each and every one of us has helped me figure out why we have the struggles we have, and the successes that we do.

The more I research management and psychology, the more I discover how closely related the two are, and the more processes and models I find. The quadrant of coaching, specifically, caught my attention. This is a model that marries emotion with productivity. This model was one of the answers to my question. And it was also the answer to solving some of our struggles.

The model points out that for the best results, we have to offer a lot of support and provide many challenges. This gets us to the high productivity phase. For our employees, this means open communication, a fun environment, challenging goals and taking initiative. Take a look below:

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We gather from this model that open communication and great teamwork are drivers for high positivity and high productivity. Taking this a step further, to get the right results, we have to continually communicate to our employees how their work and the way they manage projects affects their colleagues. It’s proven that when people understand their impact on others, it generally motivates them to change their behavior.

Great teamwork and the nature of always seeking to improve are also found in Quadrant #2. People learn well by doing and teaching others, so why not cultivate a culture in which team members teach each other new skills?

Challenging your employees and instilling an inspiring vision can be done via mentoring programs. 70% of fortune 500 companies have mentoring programsDid you know that ? Development is challenging, but it is also rewarding. And getting your employees to share their newfound knowledge with the team is a great way to foster a curious culture.

To get the best results from our team we have to be the right coaches, and to be the right coaches we have to ask powerful questions. We have to confront issues with our employees and push them out of their comfort zones. This is what Quadrant #2 tells us, and by dissecting each and every piece of Quadrant #2, who knows where we can take our teams? For me, I hope it’s to the above and beyond.