Sales are down, or the ideas being brought to the brainstorming table are less than fresh. It seems your team is in a bit of a rut and needs to be shaken out of it. No matter what your industry, now and then every team gets a little stale. After months or years of interacting with the same people, data, or product, it’s no surprise when the steam starts to sputter.
Teams get in a rut for all kinds of reasons; boredom, a favorite team member leaving or some kind of internal drama, slow or unexciting projects, etc. The good news is that with a little work, you can get your people back into the swing of things. Here are some ways you can help shake your team out of a workplace rut:
Learn from losses and move forward
Every team has something they can celebrate, such as meeting a deadline, solving a problem together, meeting sales goals, etc. Make sure to celebrate the wins (even the small ones) to remind everyone their work is valued.
This makes it easier to address the things that didn’t go as planned. Instead of ignoring the issue, or letting it overshadow all other accomplishments, have a discussion on how things could have gone differently, without placing the blame on your team. Being able to acknowledge it and discuss it and then moving on is important to keep your momentum and morale up.
Narrow down your goals
During your pep talks and meetings, don’t overwhelm your team with grandiose goals but try to zone in on specific problems or objectives that will move you towards reaching your bottom line. This will allow your team to focus their attention on one problem, increases their odds of success. On the of that success, you can take on the next challenge.
This also includes not using unrealistic or unattainable examples of success, but rather something in the scale of your company or something they can relate to.
Build up your individuals
Your employees aren’t going to stay happy in the same position forever. Do you know what each of your team members long term goals are? Where do they want to be in 1 or 5 years? Encourage them to define their goals and then support them along the way. Give them training or let them spend some time doing a few tasks related to the position they eventually want to grow into. Some variety in their work day, or feeling as though their long-term goals are also being worked towards is highly motivating.
Don’t resort to fear tactics
When people have no fear of failing, they take more risks. Chances are, when your employees step out of their comfort zone or put themselves out on a limb to try something new, it will lead them to more creative ideas, more sales, or new and productive ways of working. Fear could even be keeping them from sharing ideas that might feel aren’t any good.
If you try to subtly imply that their position could be in jeopardy if such-n-such metrics aren’t being met, don’t count on them sticking around for long. Cultivating an environment where your team feels confident taking risks and sharing their rough ideas is a far better solution.
Bring in new forms of inspiration
Most people tend to stay in their comfort zone; talking to like-minded people, getting the same updates from their favorite newscasts or whoever they resonate with. In order to shake things up and get your team thinking outside the box, create opportunities to expose your team to different perspectives and points of view.
You can bring in a technical or inspirational speaker related to your industry, host a Lunch & Learn, or encourage your team members to take on some continued education, whether it be off-site, or through webinars.
Refresh your office space
A change of scenery is another way you can get your team out of a rut. You can accomplish this with a new office layout, introducing ergonomic furniture, or new paint and decor. Redoing your collaboration space, or arranging desks in a way that creates more collisions and discussion is a more supportive environment for creative tasks.
You should also make sure your team has all the tools and technology they need to do their best work. Ask your team how they think their work environment could help improve their productivity.
Mirroring positive behavior for your staff
If you’re in a supervisory or managing position, what are you doing to bring a fresh perspective to your team? Just your direction and motivation can be the reboot your team needs. If you come to work or hold meetings with a mumbling voice ir apathetic demeanor, your staff will adopt the same attitude. Whatever you put out, your team will feed off of it!
Remember to stay positive when trying to get your team out of a rut. They’ll feed off your energy, so make sure that you’re bringing good energy to the table.