Like most people, chances are that you were enthusiastic about your current job when you were first hired. You were excited about the new role, its challenges, and the people you would be working with.
But now for various reasons, you or your direct reports may be struggling to stay afloat. Perhaps as a manager you have reached a stage where you feel discouraged or frustrated—or perhaps you see your team’s morale or performance floundering.
Marcus Buckingham says that people who are truly successful in their roles are doing work where they find the majority of their tasks to be enjoyable. A good balance for success is a job where about 70 percent of tasks are enjoyable and only about 30 percent are not as enjoyable. If much of your work consists of tasks you don’t enjoy doing, you may find yourself getting frustrated and beginning to dislike other things around you. Soon you may see decisions made by your company as inefficient and your team members annoying—and your first thought when you get humorous emails from your colleagues is Don’t they have anything better to do?
If you are already at this gloomy phase, here are three things you can do to help move past it.
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members—and yourself.Whether you are constructing a new team or have been working with the same team for years, it’s time do a diagnosis of each person’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Based on your findings, determine if moving people into certain areas or roles would accomplish tasks or goals more efficiently. Evaluating your team members this way will allow you to place people in projects they like, have strengths in, and enjoy doing.In the same vein, do an honest evaluation of your own strengths and weaknesses as a manager. What are you good, and not so good, at? Do you take on too much because you would rather do things yourself to ensure they are done right?
- Create a list of all your tasks and put them into two categories: Like/Can live with and Dislike. How do they match up? If you have a long list of things you dislike, you may be on the way to burnout. Look back at your team members’ strengths and decide which of your tasks you can delegate, and to whom. Your high performers will enjoy the challenge of being empowered and you will be able to focus on activities you find more enjoyable.
- Think of ways to create new experiences to motivate yourself and your team members when doing those necessary but mundane tasks. Work with your team to come up with creative and fun ideas for games or contests associated with the work. Or go a different direction and create a dialogue with your people to bring understanding to the deeper meaning and purpose of these tasks in terms of the bigger picture. Taking the time to make work meaningful and fun can result in a new perspective for each person around the importance of their place in the organization.
Remember that being a great leader is a choice you get to make every day. Skills such as diagnosing strengths and weaknesses in yourself and your team, assigning and delegating work that will play to everyone’s strengths, and being creative with daily responsibilities will not only help your team run more smoothly, it will also improve team productivity and morale while helping propel you toward long-term leadership success.