There’s a typical summer lull every year, isn’t there? Your team’s energy dips, their attentions are divided, their focus gets fuzzy. With vacations and disrupted daily routines, the lull is to be expected. But in 2020, cue the summer lull in addition to navigating the complexities of a global pandemic, the opportunities involved in heightened conversations around race relations, and the divisive political climate of an election year, and we as leaders have a recipe for distraction and disengagement on our hands.
How do you encourage engagement, permission priorities and dispel distraction? Here are 3 ways to combat this summer’s lull.
- Keep first things first.
As the leader, no one is thinking about the goals, mission and objectives of your organization more than you are. And likely, during this season, you’ve had to adjust the short-term goals or strategies you are utilizing in response to the needs of your customers or congregants.
Continue to highlight to your team what HASN’T changed: your overall purpose as an organization and the end recipients of your efforts. Remember your why. Remember who you serve. The security of what has not changed will provide the stability for what will continue to change.
We have encouraged you before that your team needs to hear from you more frequently than usual during this season. Probably more frequently than you may feel is necessary. This is even more true during the summer lull. Your voice pulling them back to a sense of vision for the work you are seeking to accomplish together is paramount.
4Sight’s framework for the Building Blocks of Organizational Success defines purpose as the foundation upon which your culture and strategy are built. Use every opportunity to instill in your team that they have a solid foundation–a secure why–to build on.
Call your team back to your why at every opportunity.
- Give permission.
There’s an immense sense of underlying pressure associated with the strains on the economy, the political climate, and the uncertainty of the realities of COVID. We are all under pressure.
The novelty of remote work has worn off. Attempting to home-school kids has given way to trying to mitigate boredom and overuse of devices. The unknowns about when life and work will achieve a “new normal” are exhausting and anxiety-inducing.
But, pressure is not the enemy. Beautiful things are produced under pressure. Diamonds and character, to name a few. However, your team members weren’t created to live under pressure constantly.
Your opportunity as the leader is to occasionally release the pressure valve for those you lead. Grant the permission to prioritize. Initiate conversations about which goals remain priorities and which need to be adjusted, postponed or eliminated.
That’s not to say we cease to value excellence and abandon accountability. It is simply a chance to provide clarity, in the face of limitations, about where energy can best be routed.
The question to ask yourself is, “Where can I relieve pressure for those I lead?
- Don’t Neglect Connection.
In our work-from-home, virtual workplace culture, humanity and belonging can easily be sidelined for productivity and efficiency. Especially during the summer lull.
The reality is that there are small ways to keep our team members, as whole people (not just professionals), at the forefront. A check in on how they’re doing during your weekly meeting. A handwritten note of appreciation sent in the mail (who doesn’t love to receive mail?) Themed staff meetings that allow a creative outlet for personalities to shine and a sense of belonging within the team. Strategically focus on the culture you have built and the ways in which you want to continue to build it.
To combat the summer lull, look for ways to connect your team to vision and to each other. When you do, you’ll see their energy and engagement increase and you’ll see distraction give way to focus.
Additional Resources from 4Sight
Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.