How to Break the Blahs: Strategies for Resetting Team Energy
In January I landed in Winnipeg on their coldest day: -53 Celsius (-63F) with wind chill. Good timing! Many cities in North America have experienced record lows that suck the energy right out of you…all except what’s needed to cozy up beside a fire with a latte.
In the heart of winter are you finding it challenging to get yourself charged up for work? For many, January is a tough month as we reorient ourselves to work after the holidays. Some didn’t get the required recharge and are struggling. For others, change fatigue has landed. If you or your team has been feeling droopy these days, you’re not alone.
While reduced energy levels are normal at times, you still have goals that require action. Temporary mediocrity can become permanent if not managed. Take a moment and consider whether the performance you are getting really reflects the capability of the group. Have you been letting results slide unchecked? Can they do better?
Changing Your Mind
Whether lower performance is due to the ‘winter blues’ or your relaxed approach to accountability, here’s how to renew your team.
- Write down your observations
- Compare with past performance; be ready to quote examples
- Revisit goals set for employees and team
Surface the issue
You can do the following one-on-one or with a group. If group norms are collaborative and supportive, open discussion can create a safe space to address the issue for those unsure what to do.
- Describe your observations
- Ask if they have noticed a decline in performance
- Rate: On a scale of 1 to 10 with your peak being 10 what is your energy level now?
- Reflect on potential causes: What work or personal factors are impacting your rating?
- Recognize when you were most energized by work and ready to tackle anything. Why was that?
- Brainstorm performance boosters (change in task, priority shift, forced break, more frequent check-ins, change of scenery, learning opportunity, etc.)
- Plan to take action and determine when to check in again
- Don’t go it alone: Work with others for mutual support, encouragement
- Socially, spend more time with those who give you a boost
- Change your space – what new pictures and nick-nacks will inspire your team?
- Learn something new
- Check your nutrition and sleep habits
- Structure your day to drive focused work; disarm the distractions
Farmers let fields lie fallow at times, unworked, in order to restore vital nutrients. Our stores of energy are not unlimited, and the ingredients that fill them require replenishment. Laughter, vitamins, sleep, hugs, and variety are all important elements. Discovering the secret mix that fuels you and your team is an important aspect of maintaining your leadership edge.