How to build a team that performs well in the weeds

 
May 16, 2016 | by Jennifer Yugo, Ph.D.

How can you create a team that's inspired to bring their best each day — even when that day may be the worst? While you can hire for resilience to take the highs and the lows, there's a lot you can do to build a team that will show up and give their best — even in when they're in the weeds.

In the mid-1970s organizational consultant Frank Smith was researching job attitudes within a business with Chicago and New York offices. There was a huge snowstorm in Chicago during the study allowing him to compare how job attitudes predicted attendance the day after the storm. He compared the snow-logged Chicago to the normal-winter-weather New York offices. Smith verified a substantial predictor for attendance at the blustery Chicago office was how well the job met a person's needs, coupled with their commitment to the company's values and mission. Alternatively, this was completely insignificant for New York. Because of the snowstorm, showing up for work in Chicago was largely under the control of the employee; it would be completely understandable not to show up. 

When your team has a large degree of choice or discretion in a situation, such as going above and beyond for a guest when no one is looking, commitment to your mission and satisfaction with the job is critical. As a leader, you can make or break performance.

Smith also measured how well the job met employee needs for supervision, amount of work, tasks, pay, and future career. Surprisingly, pay was not an influential predictor of Chicago attendance. Supervision and how well employees felt the job prepared them for their future careers had the biggest influence on attendance. 

This finding supports a body of research suggesting that once we accept a job and level of pay, the quality of the job carries more influence over our day-to-day performance, attendance and decision to stay. Job quality differs for each of us based on our values. It is a combination of the quality of our relationships, work tasks, career opportunities, and connection with the mission and values of the company that really matters most.

What does this mean? Leaders can worry less about pay, but should take extra effort to understand the needs, preferences and goals for each member of their team.  Generating excitement and identification within team members for your company's mission and values also builds resilience and the willingness to weather any storm. 

The challenge for you is to put the right motivators and structure in place so your team will perform well when they are weathering a storm or serving in the weeds.


Topics: Staffing & Training


Jennifer Yugo, Ph.D. / As Corvirtus Chief Scientist, Jennifer creates science-based solutions for performance, fit, and retention to support restaurant growth. Her expertise in I-O Psychology ensures Corvirtus hiring and culture-building solutions lead industry best practices.
wwwView Jennifer Yugo, Ph.D.'s profile on LinkedIn

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