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Let’s face it: being part of a small business team can be challenging even under the best of circumstances, but it’s been an especially taxing couple of years.
Given all the hurdles we faced in 2020 and 2021, it’s no wonder that so many people are experiencing burnout.
While it may be time to connect with a mental health professional if you’re experiencing later-stage, more serious burnout symptoms (and you can check out this article for a breakdown of some of the common stages of burnout), less serious feelings of being stressed out, overwhelmed, or demotivated can be addressed with some of the following tips:
In the rest of this article, we’ll go over each of these 7 tips in more detail, helping you get your team feeling inspired and motivated.
If your workplace is very high-paced or if you’ve been experiencing increased demand during the pandemic, you may wonder what the impact on your business will be if you let each team member take some extra time to themselves.
While it may require a bit of adjustment to your schedule to make it work, you’ll likely want to weigh the perceived draw-backs and challenges of these extra breaks against the possible consequences of denying your team this extra time.
It can be too easy to get caught up looking at what our team members didn’t get done or what could have been done better. Unfortunately, this is something that can make your team feel like you don’t see and appreciate all the awesome things they are doing.
While receiving constructive feedback is an important part of growing as a professional, it’s also important to let your team members know what they are doing well.
If you focus too much (or only!) on the ways in which their staff are falling short, you risk contributing to feelings of discouragement and alienation.
On the other hand, regularly providing staff with positive feedback helps your team feel valued, which also improves productivity and makes people more inclined to remain with their current employer.
For help with giving your team effective and consistent positive feedback, we recommend taking a look at these resources:
At the end of the day, just be sure to keep your positive feedback regular, specific, and sincere, and your staff are certain to be grateful.
The times are changing. In fact, they’ve already changed.
The pandemic has shown us just how much flexibility actually exists within the workplace, and workers have come to value a work-life balance more than ever before.
If you value your team members and want to keep them feeling motivated and inspired to give you their best, you may find it’s time to be more accommodating.
Here are some examples of what you can do to be more accommodating of your team members’ personal circumstances and desire for a healthy work-life balance:
Chances are, there’s some room for you to be more flexible with your staff and accommodate their personal and professional circumstances.
Finding ways to be more accommodating is a sure-fire way to show your team how much you value them and to get them feeling more motivated.
Along with sharing positive feedback with your team members one-on-one, you can also show your team they’re appreciated by actually celebrating and rewarding their accomplishments.
However, you will want to ensure your gear the exact method of celebration to your team structure, company culture, and your team members’ unique preferences.
Here are some examples of how you can celebrate and reward your team’s accomplishments:
Depending on the nature of your business and how you interact with your customers or clients, you may also want to highlight team accomplishments to your clientele. For example, you could mention big milestones or exceptional achievements in your client-facing newsletters as well.
When was the last time you asked your team members how they’re doing? If you haven’t checked in recently, now’s a great time to start!
This is especially true if your team has been seeming deflated, exhausted, or like they’re headed for burnout.
Instead of guessing at what’s going on with your team, why they don’t seem enthusiastic about their work lately, or what you can do to get them feeling more inspired and motivated, simply ask.
You’ll also want to get in the habit of checking in with your team more often; instead of asking what’s wrong after your team has burned out, check in regularly with them to help prevent things from getting to that point.
Here are some examples of steps you can take:
If you’re not sure which method would work best for your team, it may be worthwhile to start by canvassing your team members for their feedback.
For example, you could send out a quick survey letting your team know you’d like to find ways to check in more and improve communication and ask them to share their feedback on how this could be best achieved.
Whichever route you take, your team is likely to appreciate your regular check-ins and feel more valued, and you won’t need to guess at what to do to move your team forward!
At the end of the day, it will be very challenging for your team to show up for work feeling excited and motivated to give it their all if they can tell you’re not feeling it.
So, if you’re hoping to get your team feeling inspired, motivated, and reinvigorated, you’ll also want to make sure you’re doing the same for yourself.
To ensure you’re showing up for work as your best self and the awesome leader you are, be sure to practice self-care and do what you can to strike the work/life balance that works for you.
If you’re showing up for work feeling passionate and ready to give it your all, it will be easier for your team to get excited, too.
What’s your workplace culture like?
Now, what’s your workplace culture really like?
To answer that very big question, you may want to consider the following:
Creating and maintaining a healthy workplace culture is something that takes commitment and that requires a great deal of communication.
To create a healthy workplace culture in which your team members can thrive, you may wish to craft a clear “mission statement” for your brand that outlines your values, commitments, and expectations.
From there, you will want to ensure that all existing team members and future team members are aware of the mission statement and agree to its terms.
You will also want to post your mission statement online to ensure that your clients or customers are also aware of what kind of business you are and what your expectations are of them.
Finally, you will then need to work with your team (and, potentially, your clients or customers) to ensure that your brand is able to operate in accordance with your mission statement and in a way that makes everyone involved feel safe, respected, and valued for their contributions.
At the end of the day, your team will have a difficult time feeling inspired and motivated at work if they’re trying to do so from within a toxic or dysfunctional environment.
Times are tough, and it’s no wonder so many small businesses and employees are reporting extreme burnout.
If you’ve noticed your team has been suffering lately, you can try any of the following items to get them feeling more inspired and motivated at work:
But, of course, you’ll also want to try to be forgiving and patient with your team; in these unprecedented times and always, your team members are individuals with complex inner worlds and full lives, and a little compassion can go a long way.
For more helpful resources, you can check out our blog here.
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