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Keep your team’s holiday glow in Q4

Aug 18, 2019

It’s hard for a team to regain focus after the summer has ended. Louise Molloy suggests a few modifications around the office to keep the team motivated through the rest of the year.

The end of summer is approaching. Life has felt freer, easier and slower over the summer. Maybe you’re just back from holidays and daunted by looming budget setting, end-of-year target tracking, performance appraisals and potential staff vulnerability as holiday endorphins push them to look for another job.

As a team leader, what do you do? I challenge you to bring back that holiday glow and keep it going all year long. Applying these simple tips will bring you a long way there:

Mind your self-talk

What you think is largely what people see in you. To be authentic and inspire your team for Q4, you need to mind your mind. No ‘I just need to book another holiday’ or ‘I feel like I haven’t had a holiday in years’. Talk to yourself as you would want your team to feel, e.g. ‘I feel great! I’m full of ideas and dying to get stuck in’.  It sets a tone that’s hard to go against.

Take a fun reboot

Use the end of the holiday period as an opportunity to draw a mental line under H1 and the summer months. Set the tone for Q3/Q4. Introduce jokes, fun and pockets of space in each day where people can just laugh. I worked with a senior executive with a huge remit, who kept a Dilbert calendar on his desk and, in tough times, would whip off an apt page and leave it on a member’s desk to give them a laugh.

New wardrobe, new you

That’s the mantra in all the fashion magazines for summer. Apply this concept in work. The human brain thrives on newness and learning. Run meetings differently, in different places, with different members. Set up projects, lunch and learn sessions or anything to shake things up and keep them fresh.

Bring the holiday culture home

In Italy and France, lunch is sacred. They understand that the body needs time to digest food and that eating is part of self-care. Now, no one’s suggesting we need a two-hour lunch every day, but steal the essence: model their behaviour of savouring your time and meal every day, and encourage self-care in those around you.

Try using more exciting words for normal activities. Americans ‘hike’ up a trail rather than ‘walk’, like we do in Ireland. Doesn’t ‘hiking’ sound more exciting? Try reframing your communications in bigger, more American terms. You’ll get attention and capture the imagination.

Feed your senses

A huge part of being on holidays is feasting on wonderful views. I visited New Hampshire where mountain views gave me that ‘close to God’ moment. People often get great clarity and make big decisions in these situations. Bring this home for your team. Give their brains a rest and feed their senses – go to the theatre, an exhibition, run a photography competition, etc. The arts are well-documented to enhance empathy, a quality needed in spades in the busy September to December period.

Surprise acts

Small acts of kindness work wonders! We do it as a matter of course during the summer months. Continue to buy coffees, treat people to ice cream or let the team go home early on a Friday. Observe what lands best and has the greatest cultural impact.

Casual everyday

On holidays, power plays exit left and things and people are taken at face value. Bring this back home. Be more patient and tolerant. Exhibiting this ethos will relax everyone around you. Ease breeds room to grow and create which, if harnessed, will help sustain in the tough year-end times.

Go on, give it a try! If nothing else, experimenting with any of the points here will nudge you out of your comfort zone. Pay attention, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Look after the tone and culture of your team and the targets will look after themselves. It’ll be Christmas before you know it!

Louise Molloy is an Executive Coach, Facilitator and Strategy Specialist at Luminosity Consulting Limited .