Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a rut?

  • Every Monday, painful staff meeting, rehashing what we didn’t decide last week.
  • Every Tuesday, a 2 hour marketing call.
  • Every Wednesday, reply to the 988 emails you received from Monday and Tuesday.
  • Thursday, is it Friday yet?
  • Friday, planning for the weekend…only to return to Monday…

It is the perpetual Groundhog Week.

I hear this a lot from emerging leaders in our leadership training. When we get to the leading effective teams session, we always have fruitful dialog around what their managers don’t do in leading their team. I constantly challenge them to be different. If you want engaged employees, you have to contribute to that cause.

And the best way to do that, Shake things up a bit. That’s right…SHAKE IT UP. Create an environment and a team that people want to be a part of

Here are just a few suggestions.

Staff Meetings—Shake up the way you start your team meetings.

    • Begin the meeting by having everyone share something they learned during the past week.
    • Begin a holiday meeting by sharing your favorite holiday tradition or photos of your favorite things clipped and copied to the meeting window.
    • Have a different team member run the meeting each week.
    • Move your meeting to a new location, if they are face-to-face, or if they are online, turn on the video feed (warn everyone in advance, of course, so they can shower J). A change of scenery is always nice.
    • Replace the meeting with an activity like bowling or laser tag if the budget allows.
    • Bringing treats to the meeting or if you are virtual, have some fun treat delivered to each person.
    • Create a meeting not even about work; play a game, or do a team building game during the meeting that relates, but isn’t all about work.
    • Start your meeting with a brainteaser.

Show your team your appreciate them:

    • Give a small token of appreciation randomly, like a $5 gift card to Starbucks, a fun trinket for their desk, or even just a hand-written thank you.
    • Make time for individual 1:1 sessions, especially if the employee seems off or in need of an ear.
    • Invite the team to take off early on a Friday.
    • If you are not already doing so, make it a practice to recognize accomplishments by team members publicly in front of their peers.
    • Practice recognition using ideas from one of my favorite books, A Carrot a Day, by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

Practice a regular Show Your Work meeting to encourage the team to collaborate.
Every week our team has a Show Your Work meeting. It is 30 minutes in length and led by a different team member each week. Each week, the team member who leads the meeting shares something with the team. Here are some examples of what he/she might show/share:

    • Something he/she is really proud of that he/she wants to share and teach everyone how to do (i.e., “Here’s what I did. Ask me about it.”)
    • Something that he/she didn’t know how to do, figured out and wants to show everyone else how to do (i.e., “Why I did it this way.”)
    • Something he/she wants our help and ideas on. (i.e., “I am struggling to figure out what to do with or how to treat this content.”)
    • A new way to use a tool our team uses.
    • A great new website he/she discovered.

We have found that each session is uniquely different, but the result is always the same…the conversation is lively, ideas are plentiful, collaboration is high, and learning is tremendous.

Read an inspirational book that will ignite your passion for what you do and give you new ideas.
This will benefit you and your team. I love Beverly Kayes, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em. She shares all sorts of great ideas for engaging employees, all of which, by the way, will work on you too.

Ground yourself.
Whatever activity helps you feel grounded, for me it is running, take the time for that activity and find some inner quiet. Take a moment to center yourself around what is important and that may help you become more focused on what is essential.

February is sort of known for being a tough month for me. The holidays are in the rearview mirror and spring is ahead, but too far in the distance. I am always using some of the above strategies to invigorate the work I do and help our entire team stay focused. I encourage you to do the same, shake things up.