A version of this article first appeared on ICMI.
“Highly engaged employees make customer experiences. Disengaged employees break it.” - Timothy Clark.
And to this I will add that most times, it’s the leader or manager that encourages employee engagement. But what if you, as a leader or manager, is the one disengaged, the one who feels reluctant to log in for the day with the ever-looming dread of what the day has in store for you? A July 2020 Gallup study on employee engagement noted a sharp decline in engagement among leaders and managers.
As a member of a leadership team, I know how a Monday feels. As soon as I log in for the day, instant messages (IMs) start popping up, text messages start blinking on my phone, and I get the occasional phone call since a team member didn’t get a response or just preferred calling.
At the end of the week, I was exhausted, even though I was working from home and reducing my commute to work. I thought I would have more time on my hands, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
I needed to do something to battle these feelings of being overwhelmed. Here are a few elements I’ve incorporated to help me reengage and do my best to prevent burnout:
Team member recognition – My monthly goal is to recognize at least two team members each month for their efforts.
Personal motto – I’ve taken a sticky note and pasted it to the bottom of my primary monitor, which says, “To add value to other people’s lives as well as my own.” Doing this helps me remember my purpose in life, especially during those challenging times. It helps me set the tone of the conversation or guides me about how I want to react to a situation.
Learn something new – I enjoy learning new things, especially things that I can use to help my team. For example, I recently completed a Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT), which taught me ways to keep team members engaged during virtual training.
Templates – If an email or task needs repeating a few times, I create a template for it, such as a template to email reports or timesheet approval to the client, easy-to-fill-in coaching template forms, and quick responses to IMs. Such templates help me keep information consistent and save me time.
Time blocking – if I need to perform a time-bound important task and don’t want it to skip my mind, I will send a meeting invite to myself. Checking off items on my list gives me small wins. I also break down the more significant project into smaller tasks; for example, I prepare for new training by the following broken down tasks: training binders, schedule meeting invites, develop training plans, bookmark training trainer resources, etc.
Taking a break – it’s a good idea to incorporate some deep breathing exercise, mindful meditation, quick cardio exercise, or yoga before the start of your day. I’ve noticed that doing regular deep breathing exercises for a minute or two has helped me stay calm during challenging circumstances. However, sometimes a two-day break where I don’t open up my laptop is a great way to unwind. I’ve noticed that coming back after this long weekend helps me return to work feeling refreshed.
Many of these suggestions aren’t groundbreaking, but straightforward to put into practice, helping you save time and reengage as a leader or manager.
Mark Pereira is a Trainer and On-Site Supervisor at Briljent LLC. He is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT), Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP), and Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT). Mark is a learning leader who applies what he learns to continuously add value to his team while also implementing proven teaching methods to improve retention while taking calls, effective coaching, engaging agents for increased productivity, and leading with empathy. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce (BCom), and currently resides in Indianapolis.