I work in a church. There are 2 peak seasons for us – Easter and Christmas. With it being December, we’re in the midst of one of those times. In retail, it’s Black Friday. In the restaurant biz, it’s Valentine’s Day. And so on…
There are peak seasons no matter what ‘business’ you find yourself in. And it’s easy during those times of long hours, impatient ‘customers’, and seemingly insurmountable expectations that employees and teams can get de-motivated causing them to be less than their best…or burning out altogether.
I believe there are 3 ways to help overcome this and keep your team motivated:
- Focus on the mission. If your team understands why their being asked to work harder and that what they’re doing matters, they’ll work harder and do the extra because the work then becomes bigger than themselves and it’s for a greater cause. So, take a moment and remind your team of your organization’s mission and why it matters…especially at the peak times.
- Lead by example. It is important for your team to see you working hard and leading them into the busy season by your own effort and example. This is vital every day, but especially during the busy season. There’s an interesting paradigm at play here – they don’t like being told to do something that the leader doesn’t appear to be doing themselves AND they can be equally motivated if the leader is the first one to jump in and get busy. You’re leadership has influence in both directions…negative and positive!
- Reward and recognize often. This is another important habit year-round, but becomes even more so during these busy times. This can be as simple as saying thank you – not only when someone goes above and beyond, but also when they simply do their job. And can be as big as gift cards, extra days off, parties and celebrations, or bonuses. And, one of the most powerful ways to do this is through third-party affirmations. This is when you grab Jim and in front of Sally, you tell Jim how good of a job Sally just did with that customer. You see, you’re not only telling Sally that she did a good job, you’re also telling others and that means something to both Sally and Jim. Another idea here is to send some sort of note to the employee’s home for their spouse thanking them for allowing their husband or wife to put in extra hours during this busy time.
What about you? What are the peak times in your business? How have you seen leadership keep the troops motivated during this time?