If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard this dozens of times in the past few weeks, “I can’t wait until this year is over.” It’s not surprising given our current environment.
What with the severely contagious Omicron variant crushing massive swaths of the population or rushing to complete year-end deadlines or worrying about inflation, challenges like these have accumulated quickly and definitively.
I won’t tell you to forget about your troubles, but leaders need to lighten the load for their people. The easiest way to do this is not to add additional burdens. The better way is to give your staff purpose and hope.
Think about toasting to the year with a lighter touch. Share your vision for the year ahead (and of course, make it a compelling vision that appeals to positive action). Be prepared to share how their contribution to the vision will be meaningful and engaging.
People want to be part of a community and share in a common purpose. The beginning of the year is a great time to reset and reboot these dynamics.
Use the time over year end to think about how you might implement this early in January so that you don’t just start – but jumpstart – the year ahead.
This will take some intentional effort, because after all, with so many people feeling grim, they need something to grab their attention and make them feel hopeful.
This isn’t just a “rah rah” exercise. As a leader, you are setting the stage to move forward in a positive direction. Help your employees connect to the overarching goals, and chances are you will create at least a modest groundswell of energy.
In the meantime, be prepared to leave 2021 behind and move forward with your own sense of optimism. It’s up to you to influence, and you can do this in a positive and effective manner, or you can metaphorically stifle people with your own sense of malaise. You know what to do!
Header image by Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Pexels.