Have you ever had a situation where everyone on your team has seemed to have lost their minds? This can happen when there is a tremendous amount of pressure on your team. sometimes happens in times of busyness that the team can’t run away from. Overwhelmed teams can panic, causing questions around where the resources are, even down to the fundamentals of how to plan their meetings. Some people can be so busy that they can’t possibly remember what to do next. As a leader, it is important to be able to give you team good direction during this time. Here are a few tips to help you lead when everyone has lost their minds.
Give good direction
When all hell is breaking loose, your team is barely holding on. Pressed for time, your team at times can start to lose sight of the process, and make mistakes. As a leader, you may feel the effects of your team being overwhelmed. When this happens, it is very important for your team to have good direction. There is a lot of value in giving specific direction during times of stress. Point them directly to the location of resources that will help them, give them additional support if they are in need, or giving specific guidance if they ask you are great ways to help.
Ensure everyone has support
Certain team members do not fare well when they are overwhelmed. Because of this, they might need a different type of support. As a leader, you may feel that all team members should be able to handle the same workload without opposition, but that rarely is the case. We are all working with diverse teams, and at times a variety of support may be needed to accommodate. Some people may need team members to help them do things administratively. Others might need some help with logistics. Whatever your team needs, make sure to listen to their needs, and meet them halfway.
Lend a listening ear
When things seem like they are wielding out of control, many times your team just needs to vent their frustrations. These frustrations can come across as complaining and venting, and can even make you cringe. Having a listening ear is a dynamic skill set for a leader, and helps during times like these. To be able to listen empathetically to your team member and understand what is being said is very important to your relationship and their work. Giving a response that allows them to understand that you heard is also a necessary step that will go a long way.
Try not to overload
If you are in a position to know if your team is overloaded, then that is great you have that insight. In busy times, touch base with your team to see how they are dealing with the heightened work. Team members with already packed schedules, may not be able to take on more. Be mindful of this as although some people seem to obtain superpowers to get through these busy times and can take on more work, others might flail. It is important to setup all team members for success that is unique to their strengths.
Encourage asking for help
Many people can think that asking for help can be a stab at their pride or show weakness. However, this usually ends up in disaster as those same individuals fail to be able to ask for help. Encourage your team to ask for help if they need it. Sometimes this might be a learning opportunity for others on your team, and other times, it could be a relationship builder as your help your direct report through a tough situation that enables them to trust you more. Treat their asking for help with care. It does take a lot of vulnerability for them to come to you. So do not brush their approach off, or brashly give them an answer. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.
Give quick answers
When things around you and your team are moving very fast, then you need to have fast answers. Answers to questions can be lost in busy times. And if there are no answers, decisions can be made that everyone will pay for later. As a leader, make sure that you are getting people the answers that they need to do their jobs. Don’t become a clog in the production wheel. Sometimes leaders are the ones with the answers, which can make it tough to move things along. Find how where you can give quick answers, make them readily available and go from there.
I’m a big fan of celebrating success at every milestone that you set. If you and your team have just been through a very challenging season, celebrate that you got through it bruises and all! Your successes can come in all different shapes and sizes. They don’t have to be grandiose or extravagant. Small milestones are to be celebrated because they lead to bigger milestones. Take your team on the journey of success by experiencing every single step.
Typically busy seasons have an end, and when they do end, it is important as a leader to circle back with your team. Are there some refinements that can be made within your team structure that can help you endure the busy season much better? Did you find that someone on your team has a special talent that could be put to use more consistently? Great partnerships and teams have been formed from going through a busy season together. In all, keep the positive learnings and improve on them. On the contrary, if there are shortcomings on your team, find a way to eliminate them or rebuild them for the future.
It can be quite difficult as a leader to keep track of all of the challenges that the busy season brings. However, when you stay close to your team and give them what they need, you will come out on the other side of the busy season more successful and with positive learnings that when you went in. Have you ever had your team become so overwhelmed that you had difficulties leading them? What did you do and would you like to share? I hope this post helped you and would love to continue the conversation in the comments.
P.S. Check out these busy season survival tips to help your team when they need it!