5 simple things to do

Facing big challenges in your team? High pressure? Lot’s of changes? Difficult issues to tackle? Really stretching targets? It all seems to become part of normal, day-to-day business in quite a few teams.

How then do you keep the energy high in your team? What can you do as a manager to keep a positive flow and dynamic?

  1. Talk meaning

No, this is not about explaining why these changes are so important for the firm or why the new project is of the utmost importance for your clients. Of course you should also do this, this is basic leadership stuff! Talking meaning cuts deeper, though! It is first of all knowing what is meaningful for your team. This can be very different from what is meaningful for the company or the clients. So, do you know what is meaningful work for your team? Do you talk about it? What is really important to them? What do they like in their work? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, hurry up and organize your first “TamTem” (Talk meaning Team meeting). Once you know, use this information in your communication, in the repartition of new assignments, in your coachings,…to motivate your team even more.

  1. Take breaks 


All athletes know that in order to perform well, both mental and physical recovery are key. That’s why we have holidays and weekends, no? The only problem with that is that for a lot of people holidays and weekends are no longer mental breaks. In our heads, even during our ‘breaks’, we are still working, worrying about our targets and the million things we still have to do. Often because we think this is expected. And is a weekend still a weekend? Or are we also working Saturday from 14 till 17pm, and let’s not forget Sunday afternoon? So, what can you do as a leader? First of all, set the example: take real holidays and weekends or at least talk about how much you enjoyed doing nothing instead of talking about how much you worked. Take breaks with your team, taking some distance from day-to-day work! Go offsite, reflecting on where you are now and what comes next, and do this in a relaxed way (not with an agenda with no time to breathe). Cut those stretching targets or projects down into smaller pieces, so you can celebrate more and take a small mental break just before starting to work on the next piece.

  1. Enhance conversation


Encourage people to express what’s on their mind, let them exchange feelings, best practices, worries, learnings, successes, … get them to talk. Create time with your team to have powerful conversations. Make sure these happen in a positive atmosphere, so your team members can create trust, connection and a feeling of belonging.

  1. Celebrate successes 

You have probably already heard this a hundred times. The question is, are you doing it? And once a year is not enough, sorry! The higher the goals and the challenges, the more celebration is needed. Celebration does not always have to be with Champaign and a nice lunch (though everybody likes that J). So, please spend 10’ of time in your teammeetings discussing the successes and realisations of the past week! You can also invite people to talk about their personal successes of the week. This is also a nice way to learn about what is meaningful for them. Think about small things to do on a regular basis: build a success wall, visualize results in a creative way, sing a song, …whatever, as long as you celebrate weekly!

  1. Stimulate laughter

066-smiley_faceScience has proven in many different ways, that laughter is one of the most powerful tools we have as human beings to release stress, enhance problem solving skills and creativity, and strenghten overall health. So, what are you waiting for?

Is there room for laughter and play in your team? What can you do to stimulate this? And we’re not talking about having a half a day teambuilding once a year here! Just small moments of fun, laughter and play in your team meetings, your one-on-one’s, at lunch… And if you think of yourself as not so very funny, then just walk around with a big smile on your face! If you smile, others will start smiling to.

5 very simple things to do! Every leader can do these 5 things and there probably aren’t any huge surprises here. The big problem is, that these things are counterintuitive. When targets are stretched, the stakes are high and we feel the pressure. We become even more serious, take even less time for talking, think we need to keep on going so we make it to the finish. So we certainly do not grant ourselves the time for breaks and chitchat about meaning. Are you still wondering why so many people are burnt out today?

It takes a real leader to have the courage to take counterintuitive measures!

Just do it!