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A New Year, A New You: How To Drive Your Team Forward During Mental Fatigue

Posted on:  January 15, 2021

We’ve crossed the finish line of 2020. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are tired and feel some heaviness from the past year’s work/life blur. Some have called it Pandemic Fatigue, others Election Fatigue; either way, we are exhausted from a year of mental fog.

However, the changing of the calendar to a new year provides the perfect opportunity to channel that sense of renewed hope and drive. This is the ideal time to re-energize your weary team and motivate them with a new focus, direction, and the means to achieve organizational goals.

Here’s just a few ways you can tap into your team’s resilience and help push them forward through 2021:

1

Focus On Long-Term Goals

It’s short-sighted to only put your attention on what is urgent right now. Mobilize your team to focus on the organization’s mission and goals for this entire year and beyond, not just today or the first quarter.

Studies show that when you set goals it naturally improves your focus. It’s because goals trigger behavior and help guide your focus. Goals motivate. They direct your attention toward a next step, and as a result, drive behavior to action. It’s been said that whatever the mind believes, the body achieves.

Long-term goals give us the framework we need to create and sustain momentum. Seeing progress is addicting, which is fostered by the dopamine released in your brain after receiving acknowledgment or making progress on something that’s important to you. Ever say to yourself, “I’m on a roll!”? That’s momentum. Whatever you were doing, you likely didn’t want to stop, because you were, in what Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi refers to, as flow – a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity.

2

Show Genuine Compassion

Your team likely needs a bit more warmth and encouragement than ever before. It was a tough year. Not just at work, but at home. Show you care about them as individuals and as integral team players. Encourage them to keep working toward their goals and not to lose hope.

It’s likely that many within your team have not only incurred new challenges at work but also at home. And if they have children, they’ve been forced into a role of teacher for which they likely haven’t been trained or wanted. Personally, I can confirm that although I’m quite educated, I was never educated enough to teach my twins 4th grade Math, or now 5th grade Math. I didn’t go into Mathematics for a reason.

3

Energize and Empower Your People

As a team leader, it’s important you replace any sense of helplessness with optimism. Look for small ways to energize your team every day. That can include team-building exercises, sharing success stories, or even lessening the amount of Zoom meetings.

You can feel energy in a room. It radiates. When teams are truly energized, they feel like they can accomplish anything. And when there’s a gap in energy, it’s up to you, the leader, to set the tone for the energy you want within your organization. You must exhibit the kind of energy you want to see.

Here’s just a few ways to help bring back energy to your team:

  • Celebrate Wins – This can be as simple as having your sales team ring a bell every time they get a deal. It’s especially important to do when times are tough.
  • Honor Special Occasions – Whether it’s acknowledging birthdays or work anniversaries. Make your team feel seen.
  • Reframe Setbacks as Learning Opportunities – If there are problems, address them quickly and honestly. Let people ask questions and then enlist their support in fixing issues.
  • Engage – Spend time engaging with your people. Say hello in the morning and goodbye at night. Be approachable. Ask people about their families and let them know that you care about them on a personal level.

Cheers to a new year and driving your team to their very best!

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