HOW DO I RE-ENERGIZE MY TEAM IN THE NEW YEAR?
In this Is This Mic On? We tackle the question of, “How do I re-energize my team in the new year?” Read on to hear what SNP had to say about connection, communication, and people.
I’ve returned from holiday “break” feeling less refreshed than ever. We had to cancel our plans with family and friends because of Omicron. And even though I got to close my laptop for a bit, I’m running on empty. In fact, I feel exhausted. And it seems like my company assumes everyone came back renewed and rejuvenated. They want us to hit the ground running. Why not hit the ground walking? If I’m feeling this way, I’m pretty sure my team is too. How do I re-energize my team, and myself, after the break?
– Hit the ground walking
Dear Ground Walking
Every night, the clock strikes midnight. And yet on December 31st, we anticipate that when the big-hand hits 12, it’s the start of something completely new. Erasing the past. A blank sheet of paper for the future. That’s partly true, maybe…but if we erase the past, it means we lose all of the things we’ve learned as well. And we’ve learned a lot.
Namely: connection, communication, and people are what drive business, propel innovation. Makes sh*t happen. So may that be your checklist.
Check-in with your team. And we don’t mean putting 27 meetings on the calendar called “Quick Sync.” (Blargh, vomit). Really check-in. Leverage the open questions that we might have glossed over in the 2019 versions of ourselves:
How are you doing? What’s on your mind? What’s new?
We know we’ve said this, and we know you’ve read this. Be curious. Allow your team to verbally clear anything that’s on their mind. More information allows you to be of greater service to them and creates space for them to be heard. And…what a gift that is, especially when stressed, anxious, overwhelmed.
As screen-fatigue tips the scale past the point of exhaustion and in-person gatherings might be on pause (or financially unfeasible – remember how much time and how many dollars we spent on T&E?!), it’s time to get creative. We know, we know: it should really be “it’s time to get creative…again.” Instead of that Jeopardy-board of profile pictures on the screen, consider just-in-time, on-demand communication. Bite-sized videos. Audio headliners.
We’re not talking about the Hollywood-level of production we thought was necessary in 2019 (the kind that went from storyboard to seen in a mere – oh – 9 months, making the message largely irrelevant). It’s akin to what we did in March 2020. Timely. Personal. Clear. With a pristine focus on the message, the content. A leader talking to, rather than at. Not everyone logging in at once, but everyone getting the information at once.
Or: people, mission, work. People, mission, work. People, mission, work. Focus there, and allow your team to focus there. “But of course!” you might say, “where else would I be focusing?” Namely, you may be preoccupied with process, protocol, PnL. Not saying that those things don’t need time and attention. We need new processes to support innovation, we seek the stability of protocols to keep us safe and healthy, and we need a solid PnL to, well, run a business. But if we spend all of our time managing, we may forget to lead.
And leadership is the support of the people and in service to the mission and the work. Be the leader that balances the people, mission, work with the processes, protocols, and PnLs. If you spend all of your time talking about and managing to an RTO date that may (will?) change…what are you missing out on in the meantime? The future of leadership will be adaptability. Flexibility. Timeliness. Not getting stuck in a plan, while planning. People, mission, work.
It’s a new year, and it’s (thankfully!) not a new you. Remember what you’ve learned, what you’ve experienced, what you know. Reflect on where your time is allocated and make perhaps new decisions about how you’ll use that time this year. Connection. Communication. People. And remember that of all the people you care for and consider, you need to be at the top of that list.