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4 Things Teams Can Learn from Underdogs

By Michael Heller Employee Engagement

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It’s March and you know what means? March Madness is here! Say goodbye to that comfy neighborhood pub you love to wind down at because this NCAA tournament will be splattered across televisions in every bar in America until April.

On the other hand, for basketball fans, this is a glorious time of year, nearly an entire month of college basketball! And one of the best things about March Madness: the upsets. There is something irresistible about an underdog story and every year this tournament rolls around, fans wait in anticipation to see who will conquer the country’s top-ranked teams.

How is this relevant to your business?

The underdog possesses some of the most sought after qualities in employees today. And, we’re here to give you 4 to help improve your performance management practices. Let’s start upsetting the competition with your very own team of underdogs!

Quality 1: Heart

As subjective as this quality seems on the surface, it’s not as mushy gushy as you might think. 53% of employees feel a job where they can make an impact is important to their happiness. That impact doesn’t have to be as earth-shattering as saving the world.

53% of employees want a job where they can incorporate heart, like this: @Engagiant_iRevu Click To Tweet

Try this out: Managers can show an employee’s impact simply by demonstrating how each thing they do has a positive effect on a bigger organizational goal. Even something as simple as having a positive attitude can be linked to an enriched company culture, strong team or a more pleasant work environment. Give your team some heart by providing their job with more meaning and impact on a regular basis.

Read 3 Management Practices Your Employees Will Love

Quality 2: Perseverance

The underdog, by definition, is at a disadvantage, but what sets them apart from your everyday Joe is their ability to overcome obstacles for the sake of the team. This is that continuous-improvement mindset that is leading the Quantified-Self movement!

Constantly improving means increasing self-awareness and teams with self-aware individuals perform better. In fact, recent research reveals teams comprised of employees who have low self-awareness slice the chances of team success in half.  Want the dream team?

Lessons you need to take from the underdog teams: @Engagiant_iRevu Click To Tweet

Try this out: Managers can teach their employees to overcome and adapt to whatever circumstances are keeping them from meeting performance goals or career milestones through frequent real-time feedback. This regular interaction gives managers more opportunities to find what underlying causes are keeping the employee from moving forward. Eventually, this perseverance will become instilled in your teams and they will learn to overcome things on their own!

Watch: Take a Chance on Employee Love

Quality 3: Camaraderie

Most people today are capable of working within a team, even if they don’t like to. Being on a team is one thing. Being on a team filled with people who have a connection, chemistry – that’s an unstoppable force. Did you know close work friendships boost job satisfaction by 50%? And companies with happy employees outperform their competition by up to 20%? However, with four different generations under one office roof, camaraderie doesn’t just occur overnight.

Try this out: Teams should be encouraged to spend time working together in a nonformal setting. Make the meetings work and non-work related. For example, if a new account is being taken on, put everyone in a room together with some catered lunch and start brainstorming a plan of action together. Managers can facilitate by being present, recognizing great ideas and ensuring everyone has a chance to talk. On another note, get the team together Friday before work is out to have some beers and talk about the week’s successes.

Boost your team's job satisfaction with a little after work camaraderie: @Engagiant_iRevu Click To Tweet

Quality 4: Humility

One of the greatest things about the underdog is he doesn’t even know how good he is (or could be), yet he still fights with everything he’s got until he’s made it to the top. A recent study done by Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management found, “…just by practicing and displaying elements of humility, one can help disarm, counterbalance, or buffer the more toxic aspects of narcissism.” Powerful stuff.

Try this out: Create an environment of humility for your team through leading by example. When you’ve made a mistake, share it with your team and walk them through why this mistake occurred. When it comes to performance management, employees want to know where they are going wrong. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, 57% of employees prefer constructive feedback over praise in their jobs. That’s not to say they don’t want to also be praised, but clearly, they are starving to develop their talents. Help them do that while keeping them grounded and not in the clouds with their ego.

Don't try to hide your mistakes from your team. Do this instead: @Engagiant_iRevu #Leadership Click To Tweet

Everybody loves a great underdog story. Take these 4 qualities to improve your performance management practices. Make every win an upset.

Start coaching your underdogs with our cloud-based microfeedback platform, complete with integrated rewards, automatic reminders and more! Give our employee performance software a try!

Michael Heller

Posted By Michael Heller

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