Even the most energetic teams can hit the doldrums once in a while. Maybe everyone has been burning the midnight oil for too long. Or perhaps the company has lost its momentum. Sometimes it just takes a couple of people feeling funky to bring down the atmosphere for the whole team.
As a leader, you're responsible for keeping the energy high and the atmosphere light. First you need to dig a little below the surface to make sure the problem is incidental and not systemic. If the lethargy is simply a canary in a coal mine, get working on your culture with serious conversations that surface the genuine issues so you can resolve them quickly.
If it's just a simple case of winter blues, get creative. Help the team get the blood pumping with a little bit of friendly creative competition. Form small teams and assign each one to produce a brief compelling video exemplifying one of your core values. Award a nice prize for the best video, as voted by the group. People will get excited and spend time building the company culture, which should re-energize them.
Here are additional insights from my Inc. colleagues.
Often the easiest way to motivate your team is also the simplest. If you're the boss, others may think you "just don't get it" or "don't care". Taking the time to let someone share what they're struggling with, and showing that you understand why it's difficult, can go a long way to getting them back on track. Many times my work involves supporting large companies, which can be a challenge for my team. Sharing my own stories about frustrations I have had with projects or getting sign-off from a customer, along with a reminder that the current situation is only temporary, may be the simple boost the employee needs to get them back on track and motivated for the challenge.
Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward
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2. Bring everyone in the loop.
Is there something going on in your business that may be creating discomfort among the troops? Employee morale often declines when they aren't kept in the loop. Hold a meeting to get your employees up to speed and stop the gossip. Do your best to keep it positive and make sure to discuss the upside of things. Add a free lunch and a little giveaway and you should see some smiling faces. No time to arrange lunch and a giveaway? Follow Zinepak's lead and assign a monthly culture captain to find the fun and create a great shift in your company culture.
Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist
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3. Take it outside.
No matter how motivated your people may be, there will be times when things get sluggish and everyone is in dire need of an energy boost. The solution? Get outside and play. And when I say get outside and play, I mean really get outside and play! There are all sorts of kids' games that are fun for adults, and that have the added benefits of building teamwork and energy. Three-leg races, egg tosses, pin the tail on the donkey, piñatas, Frisbee golf, shave the balloon, and water-balloon tosses are just a few of the possibilities. The key is to make sure that the games you choose aren't too strenuous, and that everyone has a good time. And if you really want to go for the gold, you can up the ante by handing out awards to the winners afterward.
Peter Economy--The Management Guy
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