How Can Managers Prevent Team Burn Out?

The goal is to find a way to keep members of your team engaged
The goal is to find a way to keep members of your team engaged
Image Credit: Steven Lilley

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of things to change for managers. Our teams are now working from home, collaboration is much harder to do, and we are struggling to find ways to keep that team spirit thing alive. Managers are confronting how best to use their manager skills to keep their team from burning out while propelling their businesses forward. Wise managers need to prepare for change and help workers stay engaged. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing this?

It’s All About Change

What managers are going to have to realize is that they need to make every part of their organization and every team member’s mind adapt to the idea that they’re going to have to be constantly adjusting. Technology has allowed millions to keep working, even as many offices stay closed and business travel is hampered, but the ability for your team to fully collaborate and build momentum is curtailed.

Managers have to not pretend that the old system that their manager skills taught them how to use can be just be forced into the new system. A lot of the managers out there experienced a surge of relief after the initial successful transition to remote work. Now managers are contending with the isolation that many workers feel and the need to empower them to get their jobs done well. What managers need to realize is that many of the things we do in the workplace are nonverbal, Managers have got to find ways to fill that void now – but it’s not happening. Managers have got to remember that we’re all separated, and many people are feeling very alone.

Managers of companies faring the best through the pandemic and maintaining morale have cultivated the outlook of a whole new company. These managers are pretending that they’re start-ups. No matter how much success they’ve had in the past, no matter how big they are, they’re saying to their team ‘OK, this is day one, we have a product, we have a service, this is the marketplace, how are we going to build a company around what we want to sell?’”

What The Pandemic Has Revealed

A lot of managers are starting to realize that the pandemic has spotlighted the lack of leadership in many organizations. Crisis can be a great revealer. Managers need to realize that an often overlooked aspect to leadership is the ability to humble oneself. We need to view humility as being open to the ideas of others.

Managers adapting most successfully are bringing workers at the front-lines together with decision makers. The most successful pivots are happening when we include everyone on the team. To better deal with future crises, managers should aim to cultivate rising leaders with active listening skills, empathy, the ability to give and receive feedback, and to have difficult conversations. While many managers have effectively harnessed technology to connect their teams, truly effective managers have also doubled down on their humanity and attempts to do team building.

Many managers picked up the phone and called up their people and asked, ‘How are you?’ In other words, they showed that they were human. That’s called good leadership. In all actuality, that should have been happening prior to the pandemic, and hopefully that habit lasts after the pandemic is over. Advances in technology, such as Microsoft Teams, have allowed managers to keep operating effectively while workforces are remote, but finding new ways to replicate how workers interacted in groups when they were in person is essential. Video meetings tend to be transactional, so managers need to be cognizant of re-creating the conditions that occur before and after meetings when off-the-cuff conversations while walking down a hallway, for instance, can result in inspired ideas.

What All Of This Means For You

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, managers are living in a new world. We are struggling and our teams are struggling also. Managers need to find ways to keep their teams motivated and the team spirit alive.

Managers need to make sure that every member of their team understands that everything has changed. They need to make the effort to find ways to collaborate. Managers need to understand that in the office a lot of the communication is nonverbal. This has created a void as people are now working from home. One way to deal with all of this change, is to have your team treat the company like a startup where everything is new. During this time, managers are going to have to practice being humble. Technology can help us do this, but it can only do so much.

We are all living in a different world. It’s not clear that things will ever get back to the way that they used to be. Managers need to adapt to these new times and find ways to keep their teams motivated. The good news is that this is something that can be done. However, we’re going to have to work at it. Get good at motivating your team, and they’ll be ready when they finally do come back to the office.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think a manager should reach out to the members of their team for personal conversations?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just about every manager has a complaint about the Covid-19 pandemic. It has disrupted the flow of teams in the office. It has sent everyone home to work. In fact, it has taken the fight out of your team. If we want to boost our teams back up, managers are going to have to find a way to re-inflate our teams. Just exactly how is a manager supposed to go about doing this?