Momentum Podcast: 659

How to Handle Team Discomfort

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

I just got off my Monday morning huddle and it uncomfortable. Two of my team members are dealing with personal issues that are keeping them up at night and making them anxious. They shared with our team what is going on and how they are feeling. All of us could tell just how difficult it is for both of them.
I consider this a massive success. In most companies, when someone is uncomfortable, they may mention it and then say “I'm fine”. I've seen this happen throughout my entire career. Once someone says they are fine, whatever the issue is gets swept under the rug and everyone moves on. 

Today one of our team members tried to say she was fine, and I reminded her that there was no way she could be and we would much rather have transparency than a veneer. When you create a space for your team to be transparent and real, you will create a space for them to feel safe.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum Podcast.

In most companies, when someone's uncomfortable, they may mention it and bring it up; and then they'll say, "I'm fine." Once someone says that they're fine, whatever issue they're experiencing gets swept under the rug, and everybody moves on, but here's the reality for entrepreneurs. If you can create a space for your team members to be transparent and real with you; you will create a space where they feel safe. I hope you enjoy this episode of the Momentum podcast.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy, and make our greatest contribution. Sure. We pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.

We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose, if you stop; and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate, there could be a better future. And, instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure, it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And, we always will be. Good morning. It is early Monday morning, kind of early. I just got off of my team huddle, and I wanted to just jump in, and share something with you, about team discomfort. Here's what we do, as a company. We help entrepreneurs grow and scale teams. Here's why. As entrepreneurs, we need momentum like the rest of the world needs oxygen; and that feeling of achieving, of making things happen, of putting ourselves out there, in the world following in our wake; that feeling of momentum, is one of the most important feelings we have as entrepreneurs. If you're an entrepreneur like me, you know what I'm talking about? When you hear the word momentum, you don't just hear it, you don't just see it, you feel that word. Here's why, we teach team-building. Here's why we focus so much on team building. As entrepreneurs, there's this point where the momentum you can create on your own, isn't enough. And, that's the point where we need to start building a team, involving other people, growing a team around us, getting help, actually letting people know where we need help; and then being able to have them show up, so that they can help us, and they can help us do what we need to do. As entrepreneurs, when we grow a team, a lot of the times, the first time out, first time hiring, first time trying to bring in help, we screwed up. We have a hard time. We don't feel like we're getting the help we need. In fact, I have entrepreneurs all the time, tell me I hired help; and now I feel like I don't have enough time to get them to help me. So, it can be overwhelming. And, as you advance in growing a team, there is a lot of rhetoric out there, and a lot of advice out there that's absolutely terrible. And, part of it is that, as entrepreneurs, something I've heard people say from stage, something that I've heard people say in masterminds, is you don't want to get personally involved with your team. In fact, there is this quote, "Business isn't personal." Are you kidding me? "Business isn't personal." Anybody who says businesses and personal, has never run a business like I have, because business is probably the most personal thing in my life, besides my family. This is where I put my heart, my soul, my dreams, my future. So of course, it's personal. Business is incredibly personal. Business might be the most personal thing for entrepreneurs, other than our immediate family, like I said, or our relationships around us. And so, this is highly personal and highly connected, if we want it to be. And so, this morning I wanted to jump in, and share what happened on our huddle this morning. So, each morning on our huddle.... Each morning, we have a morning huddle with our team. Everybody on our team jumps into a Zoom call, from around the world, from around the country, and we connect. Here's how our huddle lays out, just so you have some context as to how it works. We go through our numbers. Then we have people share where they were uncomfortable, or if there's anywhere that they need support, if there's any critical issues. Then we have to, call each other out, for caught being awesome. So, everybody knows who was helping people, supporting people. And then, we get an update from leadership, and then we're out of there. It's actually a pretty quick meeting. Now on Mondays, we've added something to it. During critical issues, our team members can share critical issues, where they need support, and where they're personally uncomfortable. And, this morning we had some pretty intense personal uncomfortable shares, from two of our team members. We have two of our team members that are going through some legal issues, custody legal issues. The hardest type of legal issue that there is, I think, for a human being. Like, having legal challenges around children, has to be one of the most draining, and exhausting, and frustrating things that you can go through. And, here's what happens on most teams. In fact, what happens on most teams, kind of happened a little this morning. We had one of our team members share, "I'm going through some custody issues." "I got served with paperwork." "I'm really frustrated." "I'm frustrated with the other parent, but I want you all to know, I'm fine." And, I stopped her and I said, "Hey, you know what? I don't think you're fine." "We don't do fine in this company." "We don't pretend in this company." "We don't have a veneer in this company." "I want you to tell everybody how terrible this really is." "Share with us, how you're really feeling, so that all of us understand; and then we can move forward today." And, she did. She said, "This has been horrible, it's frustrating, it's challenging, it's really difficult for me, it's keeping me up at night." You know what immediately happened? The second team member jumped in and said, "Same here." "I've been telling everybody, I'm fine." "I've been pretending like, I'm fine; I want you all to know, I'm not fine." "I'm frustrated, I'm upset, I'm going through legal issues." "There's been a serious challenge with my child." I'm not giving any type of details here, because I don't want to reveal who these people are, but this was a very intense morning for us. And, the reason that I have this section in the huddle, the reason we added this section to the huddle is because, here's what I never want to have happen. I don't ever want a team member of mine showing up, having had a horrible weekend, having had legal issues, having had personal struggles, having had issues that affect their children, and coming to our daily huddle, and pretending like everything's okay. I don't ever want that anywhere in my company; and honestly, I don't want that anywhere in my life. Here's what I know happens when somebody shows up, when they are energetically in another place, and they try and create a veneer, to make it feel like everything's okay. You know what happens? Everyone feels it, but they don't know why. Everyone feels what's going on. Everyone can rationalize it, that there's something going on for that person. Everyone on our team starts thinking, "Hey, did I do something to this person?" "Did I step out of line?" "Did I mess something up, here?" That is the worst outcome for me on a team. Because on a team, here's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a cohesion. I'm looking for people to work together. I'm looking for mutual support. I'm looking for mutual admiration. I want the people on my team to like each other, respect each other, help each other, be friends with each other, and understand each other. And, what happens when somebody shows up to a team, where they're having a bad day, they're having legal issues, they're having challenges; most people on a team are going to think it to them. Like, they did something to this person, or they did something to make them feel challenged, or they did something to slow things down for them. And so, by sharing it, here's what happens. So number one, when you speak what's going on, when you say it out loud, especially to a group of people you work with; you know what's interesting, almost immediately, whatever's going on, loses some power over you. Let's flip that coin. When you have a lot going on, and you stuff it down, and you don't share it, and you don't tell anybody what's going on, and you're afraid to let people know what's happening; it actually gains more power over you. I always tell entrepreneurs, if there's something, that's really bothering you, it's going to become one of two things. The thing you're thinking about way too much, or the thing you are thinking about trying to avoid way too much, either way, it's taking way too much of your consciousness. And so, just put it out there, let everybody know what's going on. It loses power over you. It creates momentum. Second. When everyone on our team knows what's going on, here's what can happen. One, our team members don't take it personally; they go, "Oh man, I would be having a hard time with that too." "I'm so glad they still showed up to work." "I'm so glad they're still contributing," "What an amazing human being, dealing with all the stuff that these two team members are dealing with, and they're still here contributing, like I'm going to show up in a better way today, just to support them." And, what you often see too, it's not just that people don't take it personally; what often happens is if you create the space for team members to talk about where they're uncomfortable, they will get support. I kind of compare this, to like going to most entrepreneur events. When you go to most entrepreneur events, you talk to people, and there's a lot of fine. "How are you doing?" "Oh, I'm fine, I'm great, I'm excited, this is great, this is so fun, this is awesome." What you don't find in a lot of entrepreneur events, is people saying, "You know what, I'm doing okay today; but my biggest challenge right now is lead generation." "I've been struggling with it for months." "My company's having challenges being profitable, because I'm not bringing the right person in the door." You know what happens to the entrepreneur who says all that, three people immediately started helping them. Same thing on a team. When we reveal what's really going on, people immediately start helping each other. And so, the way to deal with team discomfort is the opposite. The opposite of how most people do, because here's the reality. Most entrepreneurs don't know how to deal with team discomfort. If something's going on for a team member, they actually avoid it. They don't talk about it. They don't bring it up. They're like, "Oh man, I don't want to get into that custody situation, or that divorce situation, or that legal situation, or the issue that they're dealing with, or the debt they have, with the funds they don't have, with the bills not paying." Whatever the issue is, that's going on for your team, here's why that is such a colossal mistake. As an entrepreneur, when you don't know what's going on, with your team, when you don't check in with them, when you don't take care of them, by just letting them say what's going on, when there's not transparency; you are an entrepreneur about to go over a landmine. And I know that sounds dramatic, but that's the reality. If someone on your team checks out, if someone on your team can't be there, if someone on your team doesn't know what's going on, [inaudible 00:10:08] doesn't know what's going, or someone on your team can't hang right now; there's so much going on for them, that they need some time, they need some space. That is so important, to create. And, when you allow that to happen, then your team member can come back in. Your team member can actually participate. For most entrepreneurs, the way that they put space in between themselves, and a team member that's having challenges; it's almost a foregone conclusion. Team members having challenges, don't want to talk to them, or ask them any questions; challenges get worse, performance goes down, we all know how that ends. So, here's my advice to every entrepreneur with a team. Create a space of transparency, of vulnerability and of reality; where your team members can actually express their discomfort. And, that is the best way to deal with them, or to deal with the discomfort. Let your team members express it. Let them share what's going on. Let them talk about it. If you have advice or you can support them, then jump in, and give them advice or support them. If somebody else on the team can, it's kind of awesome on our team. We had two people who were talking about custody issues, and a third person's like, "Hey, I used to be a counselor for this exact type of issue, if either one of you want to talk." And so, when you let your team members put it out there, they actually get the help they need. The rest of the team knows what's going on, and you move forward with momentum. Best way to deal with team discomfort, is to actually deal with it, get it out the open, know what's going on, and help them move forward. If you're ready to start moving forward, and creating a team, that actually supports you, if you want to get the help you need, if you want to know exactly where you are as an entrepreneur, and what you should be focused on now, go to My team and I, have set up this site to help you. Three things are going to happen when you go there. One, you can get a complete copy of our billionaire code matrix, which is the nine levels, every entrepreneur must go through, to go from zero to a hundred million dollars. And, we are helping people at almost every one of those levels, right now; so we know they're real. It will reveal to you so much, and help you anticipate what you need next. You will also get a copy of our book, The Billionaire Code Decoded, which is our ebook, which explains each one of those levels in detail. And then, here's the cool part about going to If you will get the matrix and the ebook, and then you'll have the opportunity to set up a call with a member of my team, and jump on a call, and let's see if we can help you grow your team, grow your business, and make the contribution you've always known, you should be making. If there is any reason right now, your foot is not on the floor going as fast as you can; its because you don't have the clarity, confidence, and commitment that you need as a business owner, to go fast and create momentum. Let us help you diagnose that, and understand what you can do next. Go to And remember, when it comes to team discomfort, do not be like the CEOs and entrepreneurs who pretend it's not there. Lean into it, let your team communicate, support them as much as you can; and you will see yourself, your team, and even those that are struggling, create massive momentum and go forward, not just in business, but more importantly in their lives. Thanks for being here, this morning, everybody. Appreciate you.

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