How To Reignite The Fire In Your Team This Winter.

As published in ExpertHub.

Your employees might be experiencing a mid-year slump. Here’s how to inspire them back into action.

As we step over the halfway mark of the year, you may be seeing signs of your team starting to flag. This could be due to a few reasons; a big push at the beginning of the year that is now losing momentum, ongoing high levels of stress at work, lack of vision, or just plain fatigue.

Compounded with the harried nature of modern day life that involves bringing up children, travel, and more, your staff’s energy levels are more than likely going through a slump. The onus falls on you as the leader to try and motivate them to boost performance, morale and productivity.

So, how do you lift your workers out of the mid-year winter blues? Here are a few tips and tools to break them out of their slump, alleviate the monotony, and inject fresh fire into your team’s engines.

Reassess your year’s goals

At the beginning of the year you more than likely had several big targets set for the next 12 months. Now is a good time to revisit these, and reassess how viable they are. It’s also a great time to remind yourself and your staff of what you are all working towards.

Invest time and effort into this; the power of vision and storytelling as a motivational boost is phenomenal. Book out the conference room for a day, or take your key leaders, or the entire team, away to refresh vision and remind yourselves of the ‘why’ of what you are doing.

Doing so will make all the hard work more meaningful if everyone understands what‘s at stake and its importance to the success of the business. Low morale is often the result of a lack of belief in a project, so refocusing can boost motivation.

Break targets into fun, short-term goals

Now that you’ve refreshed the targets and goals in everyone’s hearts and minds, keep your team even more motivated by breaking down annual targets into smaller, short-term goals.

Breaking down what you want to achieve into weekly, monthly, or perhaps quarterly goals gives staff the opportunity to reach more achievable goals, and celebrate these achievements more often. This will help keep them keen and engaged.

Make it a friendly competition

Everyone loves a little friendly competition; whether it is between two people or teams of people, all vying for a trophy, free lunch for the crew or simply bragging rights. Make the challenge of reaching these short-term goals fun and interesting, and make the prize something that will pull the team together or make the department feel proud to win.

Barbeque and snacks for the tea room are always great prizes, or a few days away as a team for a fun team building event. It could also be a ‘duvet morning’ where you’re allowed to sleep in and come to work at 10am, or an afternoon or a day off, or a chance to work from home for a few days, depending on what the team deems more rewarding.

Always lead from the front

This is a priceless gift for any team; leading your team from the front. This means being able to read the mood of their colleagues and know how to turn things around when they hit a slump.

Lead by example and show the rest of the team how optimistic, enthusiastic, positive and determined you are about the company’s prospects.

Positivity is infectious, and your team will soon be feeling more inclined to pull together again.

  • Offer opportunities for self-development. Your team will add more value to the business, and themselves, when they have opportunities to learn and develop new skills. Make training available so that they can advance their careers and become more knowledgeable about the latest technologies and trends. This is highly motivational.
  • Avoid useless meetings. Meetings can be an incredible waste of time, especially when the default duration of a meeting is set for one hour. The average professional wastes 3.8 hours in unproductive meetings each week. Create an agenda for your meetings and distribute it in advance. Set the duration for the actual expected time. Invite only the people who really need to attend. Start the meeting on time, and then end it as quickly as you possibly can.

Bring good weather with you

The saying is that a good leader brings the weather. That means that, for better or worse, the atmosphere changes when you step into the meeting room, or team gathering. What do you bring with you?

Make sure your presence is positive, encouraging, listening, and allows for questions, creative thinking, possibilities, and mistakes.

  • Encourage happiness. Happy employees are enthusiastic and positive members of the team, and their attitude is infectious. Keep an eye on whether or not your people are happy with their work, their employer, and you. Regular one-on-ones and affirmations to personal victories help here.
  • Don’t punish failure. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of being human, and often happens when someone is taking a risk, being innovative, and trying something new. The key is to learn valuable lessons from those mistakes so we don’t make them again. When members of your team make honest mistakes, don’t punish them. Instead, encourage them to learn from it and try again.
  • Avoid micromanagement. No one likes having someone constantly looking over their shoulder and second-guessing every decision. You’ve reminded them of the goals now let them figure out the best way to achieve them.

Reward yourself and your team with a short break

Your team may be working on a long term project, or yours may be a high-pressured role within a competitive environment. Regardless, getting to know each other better in a non-work environment is a good way to give your team an energy boost.

Again, ideas for this do not need to be complicated and can include a night out for the team for a few drinks, dinner, bowling or something more adventurous such as go-kart racing, or quad biking.

Reorganise the work space

Decluttering the office and team environment can help improve productivity. It’s no secret that  unopened emails, mountains of paperwork, and overdue tasks can be a huge source of distraction and demotivation for the job at hand. Set aside time to reorganise your workspace.

File the papers, create a mood board, throw out any rubbish, schedule admin time to work through email backlogs, and it will make your team feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

Upgrade job titles when needed

It costs nothing to change someone’s title, but it may mean a great deal to them personally and how they are perceived in the workplace. If someone has started to take on more responsibilities in the workplace, this may be a good transition to seeing if they are ready for a promotion.

Just own it

Our teams are part of creating, envisioning and implementing everything we do. Instead of imposing executives targets and goals, teams who just own it themselves are much more motivated, and energised to find solutions.

So, when it comes to crunch time, they are out front taking the lead and motivated to reach those goals.