Tenets of Management Design: The manager can do a lot to improve “flow”

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s 1990 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience popularized the concept of “flow” and its importance.   So let’s talk about a manager and “flow”.  Managers can do a lot to improve flow, and good managementdesign,benefits from being highly focused on encouraging “flow” in the workplace.  The more your employees have flow, the more likely they are to produce some pretty amazing stuff.   So shouldn’t your management design be focused on improving the “flow” of the employees?

That means fewer disruptions, enabling longer stretches of greater focus.  Here are some ideas for managers to improve flow:

The manager can start by not being a distraction.  How many times have we had a manager who interrupts our work with both minor questions or new requests for work?  With the advent of email, chat, texts, and any other communication mediums including actually stopping by, perhaps the worst offenders are managers who are in the habit of interruptingtheir employees.   So good management design would encourage managers not to interrupt employees who are likely to be closer to “flow state.”  If the employee seems to be in deep concentration, this is definitely the sign that the employee is not available to be interrupted.   If the employee is not responding to emails, this is a sign that the employee is in a focused activity.  The manager should have predictable times when they interact with their employees.

Read more