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This is what separates high-performing teams from all the rest, says Stanford psychology expert

By | Nir Eyal |

What does a highly successful team look like? You might imagine a bunch of extroverted rock stars with stellar resumes — all born with the natural gift of being indistractable.

But who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.

After more than five years of studying the traits of extremely focused people and the root causes of distractions in the workplace, I’ve found that the highest-performing teams work in an environment in which they feel that management is genuinely listening to their concerns and feedback.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, a lot of leaders only think they’re doing what it takes to create this type of culture. But that’s usually not the case; most don’t actually listen (or do much to show that they are) to employees.

Fixing distraction is a test of company culture

When people don’t have a way to affect change at work, they feel frustrated and powerless. So an employee who feels as if he has little influence will be driven to seek a sense of control in other ways.

Often this manifests in distracting, corrosive behaviors such as corporate politicking and other time-wasting “psuedo-work” activities — unintentionally making work not aligned with their company’s real objectives.

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