Good leaders know that to achieve the big challenges of their function, they can’t do it alone. So one of the first few things they do is to build a team of talented individuals to work with. Next it’s imperative to clarify what role each team member will play in the function and what their contributions will be. From then on its smooth sailing, right? Everyone’s delivering. The department goals are being met. The company is doing well. Everything’s super! But it’s really not is it? After a while you see your team slowing down and their output declining. You witness them becoming complacent and wonder how you can recharge your team.
It’s only natural that complacency hits your team. After months of doing operational work, chasing deadlines, preparing reports, meetings with cross-functional team members and hard work any team would reach this point. You as their leader must come up with ideas and plans to recharge your team so that they can continue to have that spark that you once saw in them and hired them for.
Promoting team members is one way to challenge them and raise their game. It motivates and drives them to think bigger, contribute more and step up and take ownership. It encourages them to be more responsible and committed. But, a lot of times promotions aren’t an option simply because either they aren’t ready for it, it’s too soon for another promotion, or there isn’t a promotable position vacant. So you wonder how else you can extract more from your team.
There can be several ways to achieve this. Here are some of them which have worked well for me:
1. Random Three Day Weekends
Everyone loves long weekends. And when it comes as a surprise it’s even sweeter. Just image the smile on your team member’s face when you convey to them that they can take Friday off and have a long weekend to spend time with family or friends and just relax. You could randomly pick a team member for this and do the same in a round-robin manner till everyone gets an opportunity. When they’re back, they’ll be feeling revitalized and refreshed.
2. Enhance Their Learning
Building capacity in your team is important for your function to thrive. Unexpected resignations of key figures can really shake up team dynamics and performance. To mitigate this risk it’s always a good idea to overlap your team’s knowledge and skills so that they compliment each other. Encourage them to attend trainings and workshops. You could also have them learn from each other. It’s a great way to enhance your team members’ capacity giving an opportunity to both, the learner and the teacher, for future growth.
3. Encourage Work-Life Balance
It’s one thing to aim for work-life balance but it’s totally different when it’s enforced upon you. We all strive to achieve a balance in life so that neither our professional or personal lives are neglected. But sometimes we need a little push in that direction. As a leader it’s important to stay engaged with your team. Knowing their personal and professional motivators and drivers is the key to extract the most from your team. And with this knowledge, not only can you stay involved in their lives, but you can nudge them in the direction of achieving balance and fulfillment in their lives.
4. Challenge Them
Doing the same thing over and over can fast track any talented individual into a downward path towards complacency. It’s what truly talented people dislike the most. Your task as a leader is to ensure your team continuously pushes their boundaries and challenges themselves. You can achieve this by innovatively coming up with new projects for them to test their existing capabilities. Create a team who can work together on a project that requires 30 days or so. Have them scratch their heads over it. The outcome may just be something your function could benefit from.
5. Engage and Include
You could never engage with your team members enough. It creates a deeper bond between you and your team whereby they are committed to the function and company’s success. They see things clearer, understand what their contributions are attributing towards and feel the ownership to go above their call of duty. Engaging fosters a higher level of loyalty and the foundation of successful companies. Along with this, include them in opportunities to learn and grow. When meeting with your peers, have your top talent attend with you so that they can experience how senior management meetings are conducted, what’s discussed and how strategies are formulated. It’ll keep them not only interested and enhance their learning, but they’ll have a broader vision to the company’s overarching goals.
Complacency has been the death of companies and departments the world over. The only way to continue growing and being successful is to constantly evolve and remain relevant. The same applies for individuals. You’ll experience a sharp decline in performance and output if you don’t practice ways to recharge your team and help them avoid complacency.
Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment… View full profile ›