How to Energize a Team that’s Lost Heart
Everything’s hard when you lose heart.
Fearful people play-it-safe.
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Vince Lombardi
If your team lost enthusiasm, what are you going to change about yourself?
What did you do to suck the life out of energetic people?
4 reasons teams lose heart:
People lose heart when…
#1. You only show up because you need something.
People hate to see you coming when you constantly need something.
- Show up to give.
- Ask, “What do you need?”
- Show interest in people as people. Do you know where they’re going on vacation, for example?
People lose heart when…
#2. You whip the horses for the entire race.
The strategy of working harder and faster eventually stops working. “More for less,” eventually implodes.
- Celebrate half-done points of long-term projects. Half-done is discouraging when the finish line is still over the hill.
- Explore ways to work differently, not simply faster.
People lose heart when…
#3. You expect people to perform in an area of weakness.
It’s dumb to judge people through the lens of YOUR strengths. Suppose you’re good with uncertainty and ambiguity. Reject the idea that everyone on your team enjoys stumbling in the dark.
Get people doing what they enjoy.
- Ask, “What do you enjoy about your job and how might you do more of that?”
- Discuss the question, “How much of your job could you dislike and still enjoy your job? Where are you on that ratio?”
We tolerate bad in order to do what we love.
People tolerate paperwork so they can spend time doing what they love. (I’m observing. I’m not encouraging you to pour bad on happy people.)
People lose heart when…
#4. You minimize big challenges.
You devalue effort when you make light of hard work.
“Wow, that’s hard,” is better than, “That’s easy.”
How do leaders suck the life out of teams?
How might leaders give energy to teams?
21 Ways Dumb Leaders Drain Everyone’s Energy (Leadership Freak)
10 Ways Leaders Can Re-energize their Teams (Extensis)
Energy – “excitement” – happens when the gut, the heart, and the mind align.
The larger the org, the harder that is. Most leaders do it for themselves, but they fall short of allowing it in others (they make it “safe” for themselves, but not others).
The best leaders take note of the visceral (gut instincts) but don’t deny them or try to supress/repress them – they allow for them w/o necessarily affirming them or “celebrating” them as tactical options.
The best leaders give form to the mind’s eye (a “vision” to be “made” real), in words and in org structure (strategy, that is).
The best leaders “connect” and “protect” the heart’s desire (to care, in most of us) to everything else, and allow every one else to do so as well.
The best leaders, then, create safe environments for our instincts, our caring, and our imaginations to thrive – and find a way for them to align – so that a shared vision can be made real for each and every one of us.
On your walk-abouts, make sure you find people and results that you can say, “Wow, you make what’s hard for the rest of us look easy! How do you do that? Hey, everybody, gather ’round; this is something!” And then facilitate that conversation to remain affirming of “this is who we are.”
It’s not easy, though. It takes an ability to at once tie the big picture to a moment, and to dive deep into detail and elevate it as a valuable insight.
Working harder, smarter and faster aren’t necessarily exclusive … sometimes elegance happens; it just needs to be noticed and assimilated (rather than crushed).
Of all the insights you share, the one that speaks most to me is about acknowledging emotion. Coming from Maine, we don’t have emotion. 🙂 It’s taken me a long time to dip my toe into this arena.
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The blog today is one of balance. I think leaders have to balance the push, pull, and give cycle; this same balance holds true within the team as well.
When leaders repeatedly change the goal post or requirements for tasks, it can negatively impact morale and motivation.
I found that a simple thank you or recognition for daily performance is a small but important aspect of keeping the team motivated. We will fail in leadership if we only point out shortfalls.
all this is a far cry from the “do what you’re told, when you’re told, how you’re told and be glad you have a job to do!” model that I’m used to – gonna take some time getting this on board!
To be an effective leader, one must have to push and push until the results are shown. Leaders are often perfectionist at times, so they will push their team to the fullest potential even if it means sucking the life out of them. They do this because they want to be effective and want to impact the lives of others and to do this they know they have to be the best and come up with unknown solutions. One way leaders suck the life out of their team members is by pointing out what others are doing wrong. Thought feedback is always critical in improvement, the way you come off is always crucial. A leader must bring in positive feedbacks to compliment the negative, otherwise when you want to talk to your team members, then they are going to think “what did I do wrong this time” and start to avoid you because they don’t want to have the same conversations and the same feeling of being put down. Another way leaders such the life out of their team members is by not setting clear expectations. Leaders often times get ahead of themselves and expect their colleagues to read their minds and follow protocol. However, without communicating these expectations clearly, these members do not know they what role they play and their corresponding responsibilities. Therefore, this results in an ineffective team that will not reach the goals they aspire to reach. Along with giving positive feedback and telling team members they are doing a good job for encouragement and support, it’s also refreshing to celebrate certain milestones and letting the team members feeling accomplished. This way they can use that fuel to keep motivated and fulfil each goal. It is also important to encourage creativity and think outside the box. With that being said, team members can become more invested in the project if their idea is useful and boosts productivity.
When I was younger I worked as a manager at a fast food establishment and this would have baffled me. Leadership and consideration are not always taught to those in charge, and I am beginning to think it should be. What would you suggest someone do if they asked what there like to dislike ratio was and it was considerably more dislike than like? That obviously seems like a solution that a leader cannot help with, but we won’t know unless we ask! I really enjoy the idea of celebrating halfway marks and I may start rewarding myself for making it halfway on big tasks. Being able to recognize and praise hard work may not be difficult, but it is challenging to remember to stop and appreciate the people around you. I would personally be thrilled if my boss recognized the work that I do. The biggest drain leaders have on me is when they refuse to explore questions that I have for them or refuse to assist in times of need. My personal hell is asking why we must do something the way they say and not having a good reason for it. Flexibility and allowing for change is, to me, the best way a leader can energize their team. The idea of stopping by when you do not need anything is also a beautiful way to energize your team. Being able to talk and destress with your boss will allow a more open dialogue to exist, as well as the opportunity to check in. I had not considered, before this, that the teams enthusiasm could be so directly linked to leadership. After reading this, I’m a changed person! It seems to be a very solid plan with impacts that I had not thought of before. Having mostly been outside of a leadership position I had always considered it my own shortcomings when I struggled to maintain enthusiasm about my job. I see now that there are many things I can do improve my work attitude, but also that a little help from management would lighten my day considerably.