Flow. A principle popularized by a guy with an unpronounceable name: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Others call it “the zone” or “hyperfocus”. It is a mental state where a person is fully immersed in an energized focus. Flow is important, because we tend to do our best work when we’re in this kind of state.

Most posts are about getting into flow, but as managers and leaders, we’re obviously interested in how our teams can perform better. Flow could be the key to getting to the next level.

There are three big components that make up flow:

1. Immediate feedback

In order to get into a flow, one needs to know what to do and how to do it. This allows autonomous work. On top of this, feedback is essential and needs to be near instant. This builds momentum to keep going and helps keep anxiety at bay.

What can you do?

  • Never stop communicating the why. You need to repeat where you want to go over and over to make it stick.
  • If you get asked for feedback, make sure to be available. Ask questions instead of providing the answers.

2. The potential to succeed

Flow is not possible if you don’t have the feeling you can get to success. The same thing counts for your team: they won’t be able to get into a state of flow if they have the feeling they're failing you or the bigger goal.

What can you do?

  • Communicate trust and support. Make sure they know you’ll back them if things get rough.
  • Together with the team, set audacious goals, but make sure you know the team can reach it.

3. Feeling engrossed in the experience

As soon as flow is reached, everything else fades into the background. But in order to get there, the right circumstances can help.

What can you do?

  • Don’t go after too many goals at the same time. Having a clear target helps. You have a clear understanding of all the separate things that are necessary, but you also have the option to hide certain things from your team in order to help them focus more and easier.
  • Take care of physical stuff that makes it hard to get into flow: loud noise, crappy internet, uncomfortable temperature at the office.

Take a good look at what you can do to help your team get into flow. A couple of simple adjustments might give you great results.