team members

Helping Team Members to Step Outside Their Comfort Zones

Anthea Business Development

From Anthea’s Desk

As a business owner, I am quite comfortable with discomfort. I look at discomfort as an opportunity to growth. Whether it is assessing new technology, a different strategy for customer service, changing our hiring practices, or anything else that takes place to advance my business, discomfort is the norm.

I use the term ‘riding the waves’ as a metaphor for how to experience ups and downs in business (or life for that matter). Whether at the top of the wave or the bottom, my perspective is that as long as we are in momentum, we are moving forward and not being pulled under.

As a Kolbe ‘Quick Start‘ type, I also have an innate capacity for accommodating change, creating new ideas, and handling disruption.

For a number of years, I was challenged with leading team members who are not as comfortable with change, disruption, and the evolution of a company that takes place at a more rapid pace as an entrepreneurial company. Many of the people I hired were ‘Fact Finders‘. Fact finders like information, details, and stability. Of course these are all very important for insurance brokers, who need to review insurance coverage in detail in order to provide sound advice to our clients.

So, here I was, the creative, fluid, and some might say chaotic entrepreneur, dealing with a team of people who tend to resist change, and need a lot more information to move forward than I normally provide.

What did I do to help my team ‘ride the waves’ and succeed as a company?

I started with educating myself about the difference in working styles, so that I could become more aware of roadblocks, challenges, and mindsets. That led to making sure I knew the Kolbe profile and the natural working style of every team member. With that information in hand, I could adapt my own communication style to the team member when working with them, while at the same time ensuring they know mine. This transparency led to more synergy through mutual understanding.

For the ‘Fact Finders’ on our team, I made sure they have written detailed workflows that they can refer to with all of the necessary steps they need to succeed; this provides the stability that is important for them.

I also make it a point to give recognition when team members step outside of their comfort zones. Above is a photo of two team members I recently brought flowers to. This gift acknowledged their growth in taking on new responsibilities. I have found that when individuals are recognized for their courage, they are more likely to repeat actions of bravery, which leads to more personal growth and resilience.

Of course, not every team member has been able to adapt to working with a ‘Quick Start’ entrepreneur, and team member changes have taken place as a result. When that occurs, we wish them well and wherever possible help them transition to a new employment opportunity.

Our ‘Blueprint for Success’ mentorship sessions also help team members succeed. These sessions will often include discussions about their natural working styles and their individual strengths and capabilities which leads to more individual confidence, and less fear about taking risks and making mistakes. In fact, we refuse to use the term ‘mistakes’ at Mumby; instead we talk about ‘lessons’ since they are learning opportunities.

As a leader, the more I guide my team to look at disruption as an opportunity for growth, the more comfortable every team member feels about going into the unknown, and the more everyone succeeds a result.