What to do When Your Excitement Dies

Last week I attended a program banquet at my alma mater. The focus was about a relatively new mentoring program that has been going on for 4 years wherein undergrads are enrolled for some specialty training to enter the field of commercial banking (my old domain).

Courtesy 123rf.com/ Dmitriy Shironosov
Courtesy 123rf.com/ Dmitriy Shironosov

I was moved by the energy and enthusiasm all around. For a moment, frankly, I was concerned whether my energy was adding to or taking away from the vibe. But it wasn’t long before I was renewed and excited myself. The evening was a wonderful celebration for the successes and the hope of things to come.

Now to many that may sound odd spoken by a “banker”. I mean really, how exciting can your neighborhood banker be anyway? Yet this serves the point I am about to make.

As managers, we need to keep alive the excitement about what our team is doing. We are really chief cheerleader. Now don’t go off in a weird direction on that one. But focus on the principle.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]As managers, we need to keep alive the excitement about what our team is doing.[/shareable]

Unless you have a team member that is capable of being the perpetually perky positive personality, that role falls on you!

So therein is the conundrum. What if you wake up one day and just don’t feel it? That happens. What do you do?

Here are three key ideas about team energy and excitement.

1. Start small –  Celebrate the simple victories. Acknowledge the team members who made the contributions that won the day, finished the project, or met the deadline. Start building a reservoir of energy within the team. There will be times when you need to tap into that reserve to withdraw some excitement when things flatten. Just like a checking account you have to make deposits before you can make withdrawals.

2. Provide occasional “pulse breaks” –  I like to call them this because you can take a pulse on your group as a whole. This could be part of your routine team meetings. Or it may be a special surprise event like an ice cream break. Create a climate of open discussion about what is going on, going well, not so well, or otherwise. Take the feedback. Listen! This actually does more to relieve steam in the room and avoid a blow up which zaps all the excitement from your group.

3. Personal reflection –  Start making a habit of self-checking your own feelings, emotions, hostilities, issues, and such. I call this checking the gauges. Basically try not to let a down day sneak up on you. Head it off before it overtakes you.

Lastly, we are all human. So when that down day surprises you and you just don’t feel like being the cheerleader, work to minimize the effect. Weather the storm and don’t project it on the others in the team. Basically, keep it to yourself and keep going until the positive outlook can be restored.

More later. Keep the comments and questions flowing.