We want to think that we are grown-ups. Well most of the time. You probably still enjoy having some time to play and I hope that you occasionally have time to giggle and that you find a childlike joy and wonderment in life. You probably do not want to think that you fall prey to the same strategies that worked on you in grade school. Yet most of us do.
I am talking about peer pressure. Most of us are still influenced by others around us. This is why it is so important to be careful about where you spend your time and who you spend it with. I am not saying that you do not think for yourself or that you would willingly give up your belief system if it conflicted with that of your colleagues. But you are influenced by others. If this is true for you, it is true for your team members too.
Now let’s circle back to our quote from Tom Peters – “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” What a wonderfully positive way to use peer pressure. You do not need to use peer pressure to coerce your team members or to make them feel badly about their own performance. You can use peer pressure to emphasize what you want. When a team member hits a challenging deadline, note it and make positive comments about it. When the team overcomes an issue or exhibits behavior that you find desirable, do something special for them. Offer up positive reinforcement. Give people verbal recognition and when possible hold events that reward the team. This could be as simple as a bagel day. But let people know why you are doing something special for them. Make it more than a celebration of the fact that it is Friday. Let people know you are recognizing them because of a specific action they took which you appreciate.
Positive reinforcement works.