How To Engage Teams Going Into 2023

It’s Time to Get Back to Work…

The 2022 holiday season is over and gone are the days of sitting by the fire enjoying a late morning cup of tea or a cocktail with friends. The lights on the trees and houses are starting to unravel. The gingerbread people have been decorated and devoured. After enjoying all of the magic and light of the holiday season, it is time to return to the real world. One of the most difficult times to work is on the back end of a holiday or big event. We get it…the post-holiday work slump is real. 

It can be challenging to motivate yourself in any event, but when you finally have received a taste of the freedom and ease of a little bit of time off, it can be even harder. This is the time for leaders to step up and engage their teams to kick off the new year in an impactful way. 

How to Engage Teams?

Being the leader of a team, a company, or a group comes with the responsibility to step up when morale is low. We touch on ideas for kicking off your new year in “Ideas to Kickstart 2023” on The Sage, but there is one point that I want to emphasize here. 

Positivity is contagious. 

“We know your parents said this over and over when you were growing up, but we will say it once more for good measure. The people and circumstances you surround yourself with make all of the difference. If you want to invite positive energy into your life, you need to surround yourself with positive situations. Whether we like it or not, what we do, who we do it with, and the mindset surrounding it can make or break the way that we see the world. Positive energy can be multiplied when it is passed on from one person to another. Being mindful enough to speak without negativity and instill positive affirmations throughout your day and others, can speak volumes to changing your headspace for the better.” -Katie Yeager, The Sage

As a leader, it is crucial to spread positivity throughout your work environment. Your team and employees feed off of your energy. Forbes says it best, “a negative mindset can be poisonous in the workplace.” People can feel when your energy is off and respond with energy ridden by anxiety or anger. This negativity can create problems such as “lower morale, decreased productivity, and a toxic work culture.” 

One of the number one ways to engage people and provide good energy to those around you is to let them know that you are on their side. 

More Than a Statistic

Oftentimes, employees feel like a mule in a system that does not care. They see themselves as a pawn in the chessboard of a corporation and do not feel that their efforts and contributions are appreciated. One of the best things one can do in a leadership role is to provide positive affirmations and feedback rather than zooming in on every mistake or flaw. 

When someone’s efforts are lifted up and valued by their boss or peers, it can provide a new sense of purpose and morale that would not be present otherwise. For leaders, an easy first step to engage teams in the new year is to provide opportunities for one on one discussions in an effort to lift them up, ask what you can do to support them, and discover what they are looking forward to or dreading in the new quarter. 

More than anything, these practices show workers that they are important and seen. According to Maxwell Huppert of Zoro, “belonging is what allows employees to feel like they can be their authentic selves without fear of different treatment or punishment—and it has a major impact on performance and retention.” This is a huge factor in our emotions in every part of our lives. Think back to high school and the way you felt when you were left out, did not make the team, or received a different lunch period than all of your friends. You felt alone! You felt undervalued! You felt like no one appreciated you! 

When we flip the coin and think about the times we felt like we were valued, appreciated, and belonged, the emotions change completely. We feel motivated. We feel inspired. We feel like people have our best interest at heart.

A Personal Anecdote

Although I am only 24 years old, I have had a number of experiences working for people with various styles of leadership. I have experienced the negative culture of companies, which in turn created negative effects on my drive to perform. A domineering and unkind boss can instigate low morale across the board, making it difficult for anyone to succeed. 

I have also been lucky to have incredible bosses who affirm my efforts, make me feel valuable to the company, and provide interest about who I am and what I am going through, aside from my work. Every single negative leader that I have worked with has caused my motivation and willingness to give my all to my job decrease immensely. 

Why would I want to put my time into a place that doesn’t value all that I am doing for their company? 

On the other hand, bosses that feel like friends, mentors, and positive influences have the opposite effect. They make you feel excited about working. Inspired to continue. Willing to work through the tougher times. 

Most of our lives are lived in the monotony of the day-to-day. We have big moments throughout our life, but those can’t and won’t happen all of the time. That is why I want to make my day-to-day as positive and as fulfilling as it can possibly be. I think that most people would prefer to spend their monotony in a positive way, spending time with positive people, in the mindset to make their day-to-day just a little bit better. 

How can you create an environment that supports positivity?