Applying the Concept of ‘Flow’ to Employees

In this interesting article Ken and Scott Blanchard look at employees and their motivation from the perspective of the Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi concept of “Flow”.

Fast Company Article

The first thing I would say is that if anyone hasn’t read any of the books on Flow I would thoroughly recommend them – the holiday season is coming up and the chance to curl up with a really good read! The article challenges every one of us with a role that involves leading others with an interesting question – if an employee is ‘bored’ whose responsibility is it to do something about that? There’s no question that a bored, demotivated employee on your team can certainly hamper the performance potential of the team. Finding the right growth opportunities, stimulation, change and variety whilst also meeting the needs of the organization at the time is perhaps one of the most challenging skills to master for any leader.

The article also, quite rightly, cautions us against the all too natural temptations to give the challenging and stretching tasks always to those most likely to deliver to a high standard. Somewhere, we have to find the right balance between getting tasks done to the highest standard for the organization and delegating tasks in ways that develop people’s skills and abilities to contribute in the future. If in an organization leaders struggle to find people to whom to give tasks for development and growth, feeling the need to always go to the same small group of people then hard questions need to be asked about whether recruitment policies have been right, whether short-termism in the past has made it hard to build people strength for the future or whether some other systemic weakness is affecting the organization.


4 Responses

  1. Well…alas!!… I have something to look forward to ..especially at a time when I am surely [and finally am admitting…] that my motivation has hit an all time low…..!I am definitely going to get a hold on a ‘Flow’ book and read and make good use of my winter break. Hopefully I will come back to a new session feeling charged and happy at what I love doing best……being a facilitator for young 10 year olds.

  2. It was a coincidence reading this good article just after I have received my Compass 360 degree feedback .Over the years, as a leader, I have learnt to value the feedback from my team more than anything else, as that is the true pointer to many a blind spots we have. Delegating more broadly is one area that most of us need to do better on. It requires good reflection time, to allow the leader to think around the montivational matrix for each member of the team and then balance the portfolio of tasks from degree of challenge , scope for development and chances of success perspective. Unfortunately, this aspect gets compromised, unintentionally ,in our race for action and getting results, !.


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  4. what a good article…..”Flow” concept is very scientific… electrical engg, there is “flow”of current if there is “change”of magnetic field…..simply put to flow/move forward in life, you ought to keep “changing”in life…… change is constant
    thx Manoj Gurnani 9871495965

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