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July 14, 2020

Three Signs Your Team is Working in Flow State

Research shows that flow state at the team level can be more powerful than at an individual level. 

Flow can build a high-performing and creative team by promoting optimal experiences, well-being, and meaningful interactions within the right group of skilled individuals. 

The point is, flow gives team members at work an opportunity to maximize their potential to succeed. 

In the last two articles in the flow state for teams series, I went into the detail on the benefits of flow, the seven essential elements you need to trigger flow in your team, and tips for implementation. If you haven’t read these articles already, make sure to read them first and come back to this article: 

  1. The Power of Flow State For Teams
  2. 7 Things You Need To Know If You Want Your Crew Operating In Team Flow

As management, it’s our responsibility to construct the framework necessary to trigger flow and allow your team to reach its potential. 

If you’re working on building out the work environment conducive to team flow, it’s essential to track your progress. When you implement the components correctly, certain characteristics and shifts start to emerge in a team. 

By understanding the three signs of team flow below, you’ll gauge whether the framework you’re building is strong enough to trigger team flow.  

1. Your Team Feels Sense of Unity

When your team is working in flow, they can feel bonded together. A deep sense of cohesion to the group identity causes a loss of self-consciousness. In other words, there’s a level of ego death that occurs in the individual. Instead, teams in flow experience a blending of egos, where nobody is better or worse. The only thing that exists is the group working together to accomplish a common goal. 

In short, when your team feels unified, they will exhibit: 

  • Cohesion
  • Loss of Self
  • Blending of egos

Thus, when your team experiences flow state together, they are more likely to stick together, set aside personal bias, and become part of a collective ambition. 

2. Your Team Feels a Sense of Joint Progress

In flow state, your team will feel like they’ve made a tremendous amount of progress together to accomplish their common goal. To support their collective progress, all the team’s activities are directed towards the pursuit of a collective goal and individual tasks built off each other’s work. 

You do not have joint progress if your team sets a goal, and individuals feel like they have not come far. Instead, it’s a deep feeling of accomplishment, knowing that you’re making progress. Your team should be saying, “I can’t believe how far along we are compared to where we were a month ago.”

Overall your team will feel progress when: 

  • Your team has synergistic interactions
  • All activities point towards a common goal
  • Individual tasks build on each other’s work
  • Your team feels accomplishment and satisfaction at making progress

Ultimately, everyone’s attention and energy are extremely focused on the goal at hand in flow state. As a result, a sense of joint progress is evoked when goals are completed together. 

3. Your Team Has Mutual Trust

Everyone on the team knows that they can depend on each other because their skill sets complement each other, and individuals can rise to the challenge. If you put the wrong person (even if they have a great personality) with the wrong skills for the team’s objectives, then your team won’t experience flow. 

Essentially, one teammate can block team flow. 

For your team to have mutual trust, all individuals need to have: 

  • A willingness to be vulnerable
  • Mutual respect
  • Confidence working in the environment
  • High efficacy or team potency

The bottom line is that trust is vital to ensure individuals feel like they are in control of their work while being confident that the team has their back. 

Use These Signs as a Benchmark For Team Performance 

Teams that are the most productive and the happiest regularly achieve flow. 

When the right conditions are met, a team flow can synchronize a group of individuals to achieve more in less time. In essence, they become a ‘dream team.’ 

As you’re working to build your dream team and implementing flow state, these three characteristics are the tell-tale signs that the team is getting the most out of each other in flow. 

Use these signs as a collective tool to monitor performance, analyze individuals, and keep a tight pulse on your team’s health. When your team exhibits all three signs, it becomes the best benchmark for identifying growth or reinforcement opportunities in your team flow. 

Which signs do you see your team exhibiting the most? 

If you feel like there are any signs you struggle with, let me know. I’m here to help you get the most out of your business and team. 

If you’re curious to learn more about individual flow, check out my article series “Flow at Work.” 

  1. What is Flow State? The One Skill That Will Double Your Productivity
  2. The Flow State Canvas: The One Page Plan to Get Into The Flow
  3. How To Create a Routine to Trigger and Maximize Your Flow State of Mind
  4. The Golden Rule to Help You Stay in Flow State
  5. The Energy Cycle Maximizes Your Flow State of Mind
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