When faced with pending tragedy or sudden difficulties that could demoralize the team, effective leaders can decide instead to celebrate! You can create events to foster joy, gratitude, humor or hope. That’s right! Decide to feature or celebrate what you can’t fix or what won’t go away immediately . . . things like:
- A new computer system (let’s say it’s called SWATS) driving people nuts.
- Construction going on in your working areas or on local streets.
- The worst month in history.
- Taking a time-consuming inventory.
- The busiest month ever—people exhausted.
- Merging with another organization, and the ensuing turf wars.
You get the point! It’s stuff that occurs that will someday go away or be softened eventually by time. But right now, it’s a difficult, disruptive situation. So, “Feature It!” Brag about it! Celebrate it! Make it funny! Show you know what’s going on and that you appreciate their frustrations and concerns.
Go for humor if you can. For example …
- Create T-shirts for everyone: “I survived SWATS.” Or make a new acronym for the thing—like, SWATS really means “System We’ll All Treasure Someday.”
- Construction mess, dirt and inconveniences? Issue your team hard hats and hammers and say, “Let’s help those construction workers,” or, “Let’s find out where they live and go mess up their street!”
- After a devastating month, throw a party! Call it a “Misery Bash.” Vow to never ever let that happen again and celebrate the fact that it’s over!
- Taking inventory can be so time-consuming and stressful. How about making T-shirts with “WWWD” on one side, and on the back, “What Would Walter Do?” (“Walter” being your controller or head bean counter, who would count everything and do it right.)
- People working 12-14-16 hour days, exhausted? Buy some inexpensive camping cots, blankets and pillows, eye shades and ear plugs. Set them up in the office and put a sign up — “Rest Area for the Best Team.”
- A merger can be traumatic, so make it fun … have a wedding! Select a bride from one organization and a groom from the other. Have a ceremony. Write vows. Pledge to stay together in good times and bad. Then have a big Wedding Reception!
Everyone of these ideas has been used by effective leaders! Now it’s your turn to use them, or to think up your own ways to . . . FEATURE things you can’t FIX!