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How to Get Ahead of the Summer Lull

Posted by Jenni Catron on Jun 2, 2021 12:50:14 PM

 

There’s a typical summer lull every year, isn’t there? Your team’s energy dips, their attentions are divided, their focus gets fuzzy. With vacations and disrupted daily routines, the lull is to be expected. But just because the “dog days” are approaching does not mean we, as leaders, must resign ourselves to three months worth of distracted and disengaged team members.


How do you encourage engagement, permission priorities, and dispel distraction? Here are 3 ways to combat the summer lull this year.

1. Keep first things first. 

As the leader, no one is thinking about the goals, mission and objectives of your organization more than you are. And likely, during this season, you’ve had to adjust the short-term goals or strategies you are utilizing in response to the needs of your customers or congregants.

Continue to highlight to your team what HASN’T changed: your overall purpose as an organization and the end recipients of your efforts. Remember your why. Remember who you serve. The security of what has not changed will provide the stability for what will continue to change.

We have encouraged you before that your team needs to hear from you more frequently than usual during this season. Probably more frequently than you may feel is necessary. This is even more true during the summer lull. Your voice pulling them back to a sense of vision for the work you are seeking to accomplish together is paramount.

4Sight’s framework for the Building Blocks of Organizational Success defines purpose as the foundation upon which your culture and strategy are built. Use every opportunity to instill in your team that they have a solid foundation–a secure why–to build on.

Call your team back to your why at every opportunity.


2. Give permission.

There’s an immense sense of underlying pressure associated with the toll the last year and a half has taken. The residual emotion and exhaustion from navigating uncertainty after uncertainty do not simply disappear as some aspects of life begin to return to a post-pandemic version of normal. The reality is: we are all under pressure. Navigating change, even hopeful or necessary change, can be exhausting and anxiety-inducing.

But, pressure is not the enemy. Beautiful things are produced under pressure. Diamonds and character, to name a few. However, your team members weren’t created to live under pressure constantly. 

Your opportunity as the leader is to occasionally release the pressure valve for those you lead. Grant permission to prioritize. Initiate conversations about which goals remain priorities and which need to be adjusted, postponed or eliminated. 

That’s not to say we cease to value excellence and abandon accountability. It is simply a chance to provide clarity, in the face of limitations, about where energy can best be routed.

The question to ask yourself is, “Where can I relieve pressure for those I lead?

3. Don’t Neglect Connection.

In our work-from-home, virtual, or hybrid workplace culture, humanity and belonging can easily be sidelined for productivity and efficiency. Especially during the summer lull. 

The reality is that there are small ways to keep our team members, as whole people (not just professionals), at the forefront. A check-in on how they’re doing during your weekly meeting. A handwritten note of appreciation sent in the mail (who doesn’t love to receive mail?) Themed staff meetings allow a creative outlet for personalities to shine and a sense of belonging within the team. Strategically focus on the culture you have built and the ways in which you want to continue to build it.


To get ahead of and combat the summer lull, look for ways to connect your team to your vision and to each other. When you do, you’ll see their energy and engagement increase and you’ll see distraction give way to focus.
 
 

            

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

 

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Topics: Leadership, personal development, Leadership Development, Coaching, Team Culture

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