This DATIS Blog article, Winning when the Troops are Tired was originally written by Karin Hurt, author of Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, on December 16, 2013 and was re-posted with permission.
“I’m so sorry, I whispered before he could even say hello.” It was Sunday afternoon, and it was the third time I had to call. He graciously spoke what we both knew was technically true, “Karin, no worries, this is my job.” But it had been a long couple of weeks, and I knew he was tired.
I hated to keep pushing, but the business needs were real.
7 Ways to Counter Attack Tired
Be a leader that strengthen the mission AND the team. It’s wrong to live in a state of constant urgency, if that’s the scene, something’s wrong. Leaders must lead in seasons. But when the going get’s tough, it’s important to plan your triage.
1. Strategize Failure
The business needs this AND that. But …some battles will win the war. Help your team understand what matters most. Be frank about what can be lost without sacrificing your mission. Candor strengthens resolve. Empowering “less than perfect”, energizes the frontlines.
2. Visualize the Win
Help them build a team vision aligned with the strategy. Brainstorm creative tactics and alternative approaches. Encourage talents outside normal job descriptions that support the cause.
3. Speak to behaviors, not metrics
Too many metrics exhaust. Trend and study results, but coach to behaviors. identify the 2-3 most important behaviors that will impact results.
4. Provide a little leave
The normal response to overwhelmed is longer hours and fewer breaks. Review their calendars and help them find white space. Eliminate unnecessary meetings. Stepping back will leave room for creativity and more efficient approaches.
5. Communicate through the ranks
Your highest performers won’t complain. They’ll take on more, and work longer hours to get it done. You may not even know they’re tired. Initiate the conversation. Establish regular check-ins. Make it okay to politely question your asks.
6. Manage your own stress
Stress rolls down hill. Get a grip.
7. Encourage collaboration and sharing best practices
Fast paced pressure creates silos. Catalyze best practice sharing. Eliminate redundant work. Benchmark how other departments are approaching similar issues. Ask for help from unusual suspects. You’ll get support and it will enhance their development.
How do you support your tired team?