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How to find (and reduce) friction on your team.

Latest Podcast Episode: How to find (and reduce) friction on your team.

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One of your key responsibilities as a leader is making sure your employees are constantly growing.

Employee growth is a by-product of two key levers in your control:

The right balance of support and challenge will make or break any team. A good rule of thumb is to have support directly proportional to the amount of challenge. Just keeping this in mind will help you lead more effectively.

Most teams will fall under one of the four categories below.

1. High Support & High Challenge

Most teams flourish in this type of environment and look forward to tackling big goals together. Employees stretch without snapping and have the confidence that help is around if needed.

2. High Support & Low Challenge

This type of environment can be characterized by mistrust. The manager inadvertently diminishes the potential of the team by jumping in and “saving the day”. Teams get stagnant due to lack of learning and challenges and start believing “What’s the point of my contribution when the boss just does everything?” I see a lot of well-intentioned managers make this mistake. (I’ve been there)


3. Low Support & High Challenge

We’ve all been here. This type of environment is toxic. Teams are expected to perform at high levels all the time however there’s no support in place, no training, no caring. Employees know there’s nothing in it for them. The cavalry’s not coming and there’s no air cover. Classic recipe for “brain-drain“.

4. Low Support & Low Challenge

This atmosphere reeks of apathy. Teams have given up, managers have thrown in the towel. People have either “stayed-and-quit” or on their way out. No one expects much from each other and mediocrity is topic du jour. This type of situation usually stems from bigger organizational problems and trickles down to teams and employees.

What combination of “challenge and support” best represents your team today and why do you think that’s the case?

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