How can you be sure to bring out the best in people? If you’re on a team and responsible for results, you know how hard it can be to get everyone engaged and pulling in the right direction. Energy sprays every which way and then fades like Champagne bubbles.

In my last post, I talked about research from brain science psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell. He suggests five steps to bring out the best in people. Here are the first two.

Step 1: Select

To match the right person to the right job, examine how three key questions intersect:

  1. At what tasks or jobs does this person excel?
  2. What does he/she like to do?
  3. How does he/she add value to the organization?

Set the stage for your employees to do well with responsibilities they enjoy. You can then determine how they will add the greatest possible value to your organization.

Step 2: Connect

Managers and employees require a mutual atmosphere of trust, optimism, openness, transparency, creativity and positive energy. Each group can contribute to reducing toxic fear and worry, insecurity, backbiting, gossip and disconnection.

A positive working environment starts with how the boss handles negativity, failure and problems. The boss sets the tone and models preferred behaviors and reactions. Employees take their cues from those who lead them.

To encourage connection:

  • Look for the spark of brilliance within everyone.
  • Encourage a learning mindset.
  • Model and teach optimism, as well as the belief that teamwork can overcome any problem.
  • Use human moments instead of relying on electronic communication.
  • Learn about each person.
  • Treat everyone with respect, especially those you dislike.
  • Meet people where they are, and know that most will do their best with what they have.
  • Encourage reality.
  • Use humor without sarcasm or at others’ expense.
  • Seek out the quiet ones, and try to bring them in.

This is common sense, but we fail to use it when it is really required. When people are floundering, the last thing they need is to have their flaws and mistakes spotlighted. Instead, make sure you understand where they are at and what the real problems are.

Be generous with your time, energy, and your words. Look for what they are doing right. Most people have talent but often don’t realize it themselves.

Find the spark and light the fire. Coach people to bring out their best. What’s happening where you work? What do you do with your team to encourage peak performance?  I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.