Managing a team’s energy is one of the most important responsibilities as a leader. Depending on whether energy is high (stress) or low (burnout), your tactics as a leader will change.
In normal circumstances when everyone is in the office, this is relatively easy to assess. In a remote world, it takes more effort and intentionality to gauge your team’s energy levels so that you can ask them to do things they’re in the right frame of mind to accomplish.
As a leader, you have externally imposed obligations and you have to decide how hard to push. If you get this right, it will feel smooth, logical, enjoyable, collaborative, and people will thrive.
If you get it wrong, you’ll push people too hard, lose people who want to go faster, and generally experience things as harder than they have to be.
So what should we do?
1) Take time to think about your team’s energy levels.
In the office, it’s much easier to gauge your team’s energy.
How do people interact with each other? What does body language look like? Do team members exude positivity or are they watching the clock?
This is challenging to do remotely, but certainly not impossible. It just requires more proactivity and intentionality, i.e. setting aside specific time in your day for these “pulse checks”.
If leaders want their people to remain happy, engaged, and recognized, they need to go out of their way to do so.
There are clues everywhere. Here are some signs of energy levels - what are you seeing?
- If people are chomping at the bit, feeling like their careers are stalled → set ambitious goals and drive.
- If work quality is low, people are asking for extra days off, showing signs of frustration, or getting in fights → slow down to recharge.
2) Shape the team’s narrative
Based on what you observed, there’s a clear next step you want to lead to. Either repair, recovery, or setting a big new target that leverages high energy.
This means planning one step ahead of what the team is currently working on. It’s understanding the various dynamics at play, so you know how to set people up for success. It’s knowing when to push hard and when to pull back.
If the most effective teams are the ones that feel they control their destiny, the best leaders shape those narratives of success and ownership.
3) Create space for people to interact beyond projects and tasks, in a way that reinforces the energy arc you are trying to drive.
Once you’ve identified the energy needs of your team, you need to make space to move people. If energy and morale are low, acknowledge that. Let people talk about that. Give them the day off. If energy is high and people are feeling a lack of direction, bring them together for a brainstorm and help settle the energy.
Beyond game days and happy hours, try hosting all-hands meetings for people to explore ideas, share insights, and go down rabbit holes together. You can even tell your team, “We’re coming together to raise our energy levels, by allowing everyone to contribute in a low-stakes way.”
At LeadersAtlas, we make it easy and fun for team members to teach their skills to each other. This makes everyone feel like they’re adding value while also continuing to develop themselves.
4) Collect data from your team...and use it
Data doesn’t have to come from surveys (though they can certainly be useful).
It can be poll questions at the start of Zoom meetings. It’s one-on-one check-ins with your team members. Even the information you glean from informal interactions counts - how do people’s voices sound, are cameras on or off, who might need extra support, etc.?
LeadersAtlas helps executives collect and synthesize team data. We’ve seen how the strongest leaders are the ones who regularly gather this type of information and use it to inform how they support their teams.
Great leaders can typically rely on their judgment to gauge team energy and know how to harness it. While work from home has made this more challenging, it’s not only possible, but essential to do remotely, especially as we shift from the “Year of Survival” to “Year of Revival”.
Without team energy management, morale, productivity, and cohesion will continue to deteriorate. If done well, leaders are able to take care of their people, maintain a strong team, and keep everyone motivated to do great work.
LeadersAtlas helps leaders and their businesses thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by tapping into the skills and passions of their teams and customers. Technology makes it easier than ever to get the input from others needed to be a great leader. We design programs that earn attention and build trust to create a shared sense of purpose and progress.
Our solutions help leaders empower their people, improve collaboration, and boost morale to transform their organizations - all through an easy and fun program conducted via Zoom.
We’ve served companies across industries, including HP, IDC, and VIPKid.