“Is 2020 over yet?” a lot of us are asking ourselves daily. We are TIRED! A couple of wishes as this crazy year winds down: May this new vaccine continue to prove effective and may we all find some moments of joy and rest as the holidays approach.
In the meantime, we’ve got 6 weeks left of teams to support and work to get done. We know a lot of folks are just plain exhausted, and eight months later still feeling the weight of remote work, home school and the spike of this virus. Here are our top three “must-dos” to get your team over the 2020 finish line:
- Stay focused on what matters most
If this year has magnified anything, it’s the power of shared values. When a crisis hits, when uncertainty is the new norm, when we just don’t know what to do next, we come back to the “home base” of what matters most. The most effective teams have leaders who steadily guide and communicate from shared core values. When you focus on values that came from your team, you have a kind of magic compass for decision making and communication. Values help us feel belonging and meaning at work because they reflect what we care about.
If your team doesn’t have a shared set of core values, start with three questions at a team meeting and see where it takes you:
1. Fill in the blank: “We’re the kind of team that/who…”
2. What matters most to you as a part of this team?
3. What are you especially proud of as a part of this team?
Find the shared values, and leverage them, when you’re weighing opportunities and decisions: “Does it help us live out our values of equity and inclusion or not?”
Use them in communicating: “Because we’re the kind of team that values and prioritizes excellence, I’d like us to try…”
Recognize people who exemplify them at team meetings: “I want to give a shout out to Michelle who embodied our value of creativity with an incredibly difficult client last week”
- Call out what’s right + keep moving forward
When uncertainty and overwhelm meet up, it’s not pretty. A lot of folks have felt crushed by the weight of their workload. Back to back zooms are now a reality. When we feel like we can’t keep up in any part of our world, we get stressed and bummed all at once. What can a leader do? Call out what people ARE doing, what they do get done, and what is going right. It’s amazing how quickly we lose track of how amazing it is that we are even functioning. We are still making good work happen as we live through a global pandemic and everything that brings with it.
Keep people forward-focused. “There’s nothing to look forward to, just more of the same” is a frequent comment we hear. Give people something to look forward to and something to appreciate at least every week. A walk and talk, a team lunch delivery, a surprise note in their mailbox, a coffee break, a virtual holiday gathering or virtual gift exchange… the list goes on. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary, but just anything to keep people moving ahead with anticipation and optimism is what we’re going for.
- Rest and reset
“I’m exhausted,” said everyone I know in the last week. This whole pandemic-life thing makes a lot of us really tired. With winter coming, the exhaustion isn’t going away. Give people a break. It’s amazing what a difference a half-day to rest, get outside for a hike or a walk, catch up on house projects, or a hot bath and a long nap can make. Most of us need extra rest right now, and that’s very hard to come by if you’ve got a family and a job. Leaders who can give the gift of some extra time off once in a while will be seen as heroes, and they’ll have the bonus of more engaged, productive, happier team members.