Whether you are working remotely away from your co-workers, or in an office with two or two hundred others, one thing we have learned in the past year is that leaders are often the “make it or break it” component in the workplace. Companies that have thrived frequently have done so because leaders continued to engage, encourage and energize their teams.
In the end, we are all in it together when it comes to surviving whatever life throws our way. Here are three critical touch points for leaders to endure the rough patches at work.
Leaders need to proactively engage each of their staff, particularly when they may be out of sight for periods of time. Engaging means more than a quick hello, how are you. It means seeking out a conversation and understanding any concerns or celebrations the employee may have.
Engaging an employee also means helping them find a connection to their work. The more they feel connected and valued, the more they will contribute to the organization. When was the last time you felt truly passionate about something? Did you feel connected? Did you feel like you were making a difference? Did this result in you becoming more interested in it and more dedicated to its success?
Help employees understand how their individual roles contribute to the overall success of the company – and why their work matters.
We all find ourselves in the dumps at times, and COVID didn’t help matters! Each of us needs to find a source of encouragement. It might be reading positive stories about others’ successes, writing daily in a gratitude journal, listening to a motivational speaker talk about overcoming their challenges. It might be a workout, listening to your favorite playlist or sitting at the beach as the waves roll in.
As a leader, you need to find your source of encouragement, but you also need to be that source for your team. No matter what side of the bed you woke up on today, your team needs a leader who they want to follow, not avoid.
Encouragement may come in many forms. A comment about their work, a handwritten note of thanks, knocking off work a little early on a Friday afternoon. Whatever it is, employees need positive reinforcement. While it may not look like all hope is lost, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel can help them make it through another day. I recently heard a speaker say don’t quit today – wait until tomorrow. If you hold on to that philosophy every day, you will always succeed because you never quit today!
SS, DD. Same ‘Stuff’, Different Day. How excited do you get if your job is truly repetitive? Where is the energy and enthusiasm when you continue to be beaten down by life’s circumstances? Where are the performance gains without energy?
In his book “Energizing Workplace Performance,” Harold S. Resnick describes how gains in workplace performance can found by energizing and motivating a team the right way. Through purpose, vision, expectations and support, leaders can energize employees to greater productivity.
So how do we do it? Ensure your employees know where the company is heading and how they help get it there. What is the mission and vision for the organization and what part do they play? Once they understand their role, focus on specific steps they can take to continue to make a difference. Celebrate every success and coach on every failure. But most important of all, the leader must be enthusiastic and take a purposeful and active role in developing their employees. Phoning it in is not an option.
Leadership takes work, hard work. And being proactive rather than reactive is just the start. If you are not setting aside time every week for employee development, and your own nourishment, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Engage, encourage and energize. Take time in the next six weeks and determine how you can do this for each person on your team. Then at the end of the six-week period, evaluate the differences you see in the team. What worked? What didn’t? Rinse and repeat. Good luck!