Training and Leading Experts

Using MAP to train your teamto perform better under pressure.

If it is your job to train and lead people through uncertain times. If you manage teams that work at the boundaries of what is possible. Then it is also your job to ensure that your people are prepared for the pressure, stress and emotional pain that comes with being a pioneer.

On this page you will find:

  • An explanation of the three stages of work
  • What happens to individuals under pressure
  • The skills your team needs to meet the demands of their work, relationships and emotional well being.

A Brief Introduction

When you are developing a team of experts, there are four areas you need to focus on:

  1. Skill Level
  2. Environment
  3. Personality
  4. Behaviour

If you expect your team to perform at an expert level, these four elements must work synergistically. An expert is defined by their work. The team is only as good as its results. And the manager is only as good as the results of their team.

And so at the foundation of your success as a manager is the work done by your team. All work is composed of three stages:

  1. Pre-work
  2. Work
  3. Post-work Response

1. Pre-Work

Before work begins on any task there are various factors that may affect the outcome. The purpose of pre-work is to ensure that your personality, environment and work demands compliment each other. If there is any sort of conflict, it will affect the work.

2. Work

The ideal state of work is one of total focus. Each team member must be able to interpret situations accurately and objectively assess their own performance. This should happen on a moment to moment basis. That means that thoughts and feelings unrelated to the task at hand are ignored. During work, any energy spent on non-work thoughts or feelings will decrease the quality of the work.

3. Post-work Response

When a task is completed, at some point, they will receive feedback. Regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, there are three responses you will notice:

  1. Expert – Immediately begins work on the next task.
  2. Talented – Slowly starts on next task after being distracted for some time by happiness or sadness.
  3. Burnout – Stops trying. Lots of sick days, low quality of work and a bad mood.

What Happens to People under Pressure?

When someone allows the pressure to get them thinking about non-work things during work moments, they often choke. There is no difference between a dodgy pirouette and losing your cool during a meeting. They are both the result of losing present moment awareness. At the crucial moment, something else replaced their focus on the present task. Pressure is really just another distraction. Certainly it exists. However, it is more interesting to look at people’s responses to pressure.

When a person cracks under pressure, it is because they responded to tough conditions with self judgement and worry.

People only crack when they pay more attention to themselves that to the task in front of them.

Conversely, experts stay completely absorbed in their work regardless of the pressure.

The Expert MAP

What your team needs to perform under pressure.

MAP stands for Mindfulness, Acceptance and Pursuit. These are the three things that separate experts from talented people.

Mindfulness is a non judging focus on the present moment.

Acceptance that spontaneous feelings, thoughts and emotions will appear and they are natural.

Pursuit of your values through appropriate behaviour and actions.

When you have the MAP process working together, the experience is similar to the popular concept of “flow”. In fact, Csikszentmihalyi described flow as “concentration on the task at hand… the loss of self-consciousness”. Your team should have a flexible approach to their experiences. The degree to which they can process emotional experiences in a way that promotes their goals is the measure of their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is often confused for social skills or extrovertism. It is directly related to those things and high emotional intelligence has been observed in introverts and even those with downright horrible skills.

We make this point because it is the combination of high skill and high emotional intelligence that define the expert.

When you are selecting for high emotional intelligence, do not mistake social confidence or empathy for emotional intelligence. This is the most common mistake amongst the best recruiter in the world.

Emotional Intelligence: How well do you use your emotional experiences to achieve what is important to you?

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Sources

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    – (Lew Hardy, Graham Jones & Daniel Gould, 1996)
  2. Toward a unified treatment for emotional disorders – (Barlow, Allen, & Choate, 2004)
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  4. Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition (Bishop et. al., 2004)
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  6. The nature, functions and origins of worry – (Borkovec, 1994)
  7. Experiential Avoidance and Behavioral Disorders: A Functional Dimensional Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment – (Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, Follette, & Strosahl, 1996)
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  14. Discrepancy between self- and observer ratings of performance in social phobics. (Rapee & Lim, 1992)
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  17. Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement (Carson, Carson, Gil, & Baucom, 2004)
  18. Mediators of change in emotion-focused and problem-focused worksite stress management interventions. (Bond & Bunce, 2000)
  19. Flow : the psychology of optimal experience (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
  20. The role of values in servant leadership (Russell, 2001)
  21. Emotional Intelligence: Theories, Findings (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004) –