Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi developed the concept of a “flow state.” Have you ever been working on a project or a task and you had so much concentration that you didn’t notice that hours had gone by? That is a flow state. It is safe to assume that people love to be in a flow state, but it is hard to achieve. Interruptions (both physical and mental), not feeling confident in the topic you are working on, and confusion derail us from reaching a flow state.How can you help your staff (and yourself) find that sweet spot between confidence, clarity, and ability to get to a flow state?Suzi McAlpine has a framework to help us think through this problem.
Let’s look at what you can do this week to help your staff approach that sweet spot in their work and maybe, just maybe, achieve a flow state.1. Organizational Clarity. Make sure your staff knows why your organization (or department, or school) is engaged in the work it does. Next, connect your staff’s work directly to the why (purpose, mission) of your organization, 2. Confidence. What skills do people in your organization feel they are good at? If you don’t know, ask them! Getting people into their “wheelhouse” is an essential job of a leader. Take the time to have these conversations.3. Voice. People want to do things they like to do at work. We recognize that work can’t be fun all of the time, but it sure should be fun some of the time. Find out what your staff likes to do both in their profession and outside of work. As your organization evolves and changes, you need to call on different passions of people at different times in the evolution. Calling on the right person, at the right time, to do the one thing they love to do, makes all of the difference in the success of your school.