Leading in the Summer? Think Fun and Focus

Summer is a beach. Summer is a vacation. Summer is time with the family at the cottage. Summer is not about work.

That’s often the feeling in offices, as productivity and engagement dwindle from Canada Day to Labour Day. And leaders are uncertain whether to cave into or combat the prevailing mood. On his blog consultant Kevin Eikenberry says you must seek a delicate balance if you are to navigate through the summer months and create a successful time for your team.

Yes, summer is a vacation. He says that means:

Let people really vacation: “People have earned their vacation. Let them take it. No expectations, no checking e-mail, no calling in every couple of days. Don’t just talk about work/life balance, live it,” he writes.

Of course, people may not believe you are that magnanimous, so take your own vacation to demonstrate with actions rather than just words.

– Encourage the learning that comes from being away: Ask people about their vacations – and the lessons it offered. Those may not be immediately obvious but with reflection, insights about their work usually will be found.

– Put a little vacation into the workplace: Whether it’s an outdoor meeting or badminton or a barbecue at lunch, integrate some of the leisure aspects of summer into the workplace. And, of course, if projects are on track and policies allow, let people leave early on Friday.

But summer is not just a vacation and that’s key to the balance you must seek. People aren’t gone all summer and return to the office refreshed. To take advantage, he recommends:

– Create a summer challenge: Confirm your workplace commitment to a goal for the year by announcing a challenge for making great strides toward it over the summer. “Often a challenge is posed or a goal made more important in the last couple months of the year. When that happens, almost by magic, great progress is made. Why wait until the end of the year?” he says. And if you feel progress can’t be made with so many people away, consider that having fewer folks around may give those at work a bit more time to focus on the challenge.

– Keep expectations high: Don’t succumb to the excuse “everyone’s on vacation.” Hold those at work to the same standards and expectations as the rest of the year.

– Capitalize on summer’s energy: People are generally more alive in summer. See if you can channel that vibe for greater productivity.

continue reading at… The Glob and Mail


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