When all someone does is isolate the pain points and focus on the negatives, it drives you crazy. These are the people that seem like they could point to any half-full or three-fourths full glass and remind you that it needs just a little bit more. You know who this person is on your team or in your family.
If I’m honest and if you are, we’ve been guilty of being that person at some point in our lives as well. The point of this post isn’t to bash people that point out the weaknesses, negatives, or pain points.
If you hope to develop as a leader, if you want to see your team take things to the next level, if you would like to figure out how to improve the results that you experience on a day to day basis, eventually you have to isolate the pain points and decide what to do about them.
Have you taken time to isolate the pain points in your life? Does your team regularly isolate the pain points? If so, great! If not, why not?
Take a look at a few tips below for how you can optimize how you and your team or organization isolate the pain points:
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1) Celebrate Small Wins First
Before taking time to isolate the pain points that you face, stop and celebrate the small wins that you have had recently and acknowledge the things that are going well. More than likely, not everything is going poorly.
2) Isolate the Pain Points, Not the Painful People
If you start looking at pain points by first going after people, my guess is that you will at minimum frustrate your team and very likely find yourself looking for another position pretty soon. It isn’t enjoyable for those you work with and it isn’t enjoyable for you.
By focusing on the pain points or “what isn’t going well” rather than on certain people, you allow the entire team to own not only the problem but also the solution.
3) Find Multiple Angles to Discuss Negatives
You’ll notice that I have used the word “negative” very few times in this post. There is a reason for that.
I have heard far too many people discuss improvement in the context of negatives and fixing “problems.” It gets to the point that it drains the energy out of me. Try to look at areas of improvement from various angles that allow you to discuss them without sounding overly pessimistic.
4) Ask “What Could We Improve”
This point builds off of number three in that it takes a different spin on how we isolate the pain points. When you look at what you, your team, or organization could improve you take a decidedly positive approach to things rather than going on and on about the problems.
5) Look at Both Sides of the Situation
For leaders to learn from the situations that they face, they really should look at not only the things that went well but also at the things that need to be improved. When you not only celebrate small wins but also isolate the pain points, you help yourself and those around you to get into a rhythm of assessment and improvement.'Leaders learn from the situations they face by looking at what went well AND what didn’t.' -- @bradbridges #results Click To Tweet
6) See If Each Person Can Isolate a Different Pain Point
When each person describes a different pain point, they also have a unique area of focus after the team meeting. They also have heightened ownership of the situation going forward rather than riding the coattails of those around them.
7) Isolate The Pain Points That Are Unique to Only A Few As Well
Some pain points won’t apply to everyone equally and at times won’t apply to everyone at all. Does it matter to your team to isolate the pain points that only a few are dealing with each day or after an event?
Of course it does. If one member of the team is struggling with something, the rest of the team will eventually feel it as well. Why not be proactive about it and make sure those unique pain points are out on the table? You may find that one member of the team who had no idea about the situation has a solution to help another team member who is struggling.
As you and your team assess what you have accomplished this year or maybe a recent event, make sure to isolate the pain points. Make sure to isolate the pain points in an effective way that comprehensively prepares your team for improvements and better results in the future.
What are your next steps as a team as you isolate the pain points? How would you like to lead your next team meeting differently as a result of reading this post? Take a minute and decide on a course of action. If you are like me, it is far too easy to read blog post after blog post and not take action. Decide now to take action.
Look over the other 9 coaching questions high performance leaders ask or dig deeper into a specific question (this post will be updated as future posts are added).