Dr. Leatrice Brooks, LP
Jumping Back in After Spring Break: Maintaining the Positive Energy
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Spring break has come and gone for most of us, and our teams are jumping back in. It's important for the health of our teams and organizations that we maintain the positive energy that most of us experience when we have time off. There are intentional things we can do to continue the momentum.
Depending on the work and environment, there are times when we return to work after a vacation and feel stressed just at the thought of showing up. We might feel less than enthusiastic about the work ahead, catching up, and sometimes the relationships. In those instances, our jobs are a mood killer and we struggle to re-engage with the work after getting our needs met while we were away. Thoughtfulness and meaningful work relationships can be a buffer for workplace mental health. The task of establishing and sustaining such an environment starts with the leader.
Present leaders are tuned into the needs of their team. They can sense the energy within their team and know when it has shifted. Present leaders have relationships with their team members and are ready to act. They anticipate the changes their team may experience and notice subtle differences. They are curious and observant of situational and dispositional changes before they become chronic problems. Increased awareness is a great prevention strategy and keeps companies out of environmental and cultural places they don’t want to be.
One place to start with increasing awareness of your team is to be aware of yourself. Believe it or not, people are more similar than they are different, particularly when it comes to emotions. Think about your own experiences of returning to work, what helps and what hinders, and consider if your team might feel the same. Why or why not? How can you provide support to rebalance or ride the wave?
Everyone wants to be acknowledged. Responding to organic moments is a phenomenal way to show you are paying attention and that your teams’ experiences and lives are important to you. It doesn’t require a lot and you don’t have to go out of your way. Just be intentional. Ride out the positive energy as long as you can. It’s easier to ride a wave that has already started than to try and create one or pick people up when things have gone downhill.
Think about ways to involve the whole staff so they can feed off the energy as well. Not only do we like to feel good, but we like to help others feel good as well. Create a giving environment that promotes sharing of oneself, gifts, and talents with others. Set the tone, be an example, and build a solid foundation for what you want. We often do so with our products and services. We should not neglect to do the same with our teams.
Catch-Up. Make time to be present with your team and their stories about their time off. Not just in passing but potentially in a meeting. You can get the entire story later, but in a meeting, it’s easy to ask for a highlight reel or request 3 moments that stand out.
Follow-Up. Stay connected to your team in the weeks following their return. Ask about their transition, identify needs, and provide resources. This will ensure they stay motivated to re-enter work and help stay on top of any challenges that may arise.
Fill in the Gap. Consider ways you can maintain the momentum over time. This may be through thank you and encouragement cards, open acknowledgments of milestones including birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments, or other celebrations. Taping cards, decorations, or small gifts to a team member's doors or workspace or sending them unexpectedly through the mail are great ways to put smiles on everyone’s faces.
Think Ahead. While team members may have just returned from time off, it can be helpful to start preparing for the next trip. Planned time off can be a great buffer for burnout prevention. Not just supporting, but leading self-care conversations is great for morale and production.
Be Present. For as much as the work needs to get done, meet your team where they are and be present with their energy. Resist shutting it down to focus on the work. When your team is your work, they will accomplish the work of the business and feel good doing it.
What is Presence Leadership? Presence leadership is about being in the moment as you lead your team. We can miss a lot of useful and valuable opportunities that can be used to strengthen our teams and shape our leadership. Organizations often default to quantitative data through surveys and questionnaires, but presence leadership is a way to keep a finger consistently on the pulse of your team. It provides a constant feed of real-time, qualitative data on the health of your team.
Call to Presence Assess your presence with these questions…
What is the current energy level of your team?
What organic opportunities are there to build on to enhance the mood of your team?
What immediate next steps can you take towards presence with your team?
Presence is a learned skill and the Presence Formula can help you get there. Download the free guide to learn this repeatable 4 step process to increase your presence. You'll receive new blog posts right in your inbox. Contact us for a personalized Presence experience.
Licensed Psychologist, Executive Coach, Speaker
Dr. Leatrice positions organizations to maximize productivity, master collaboration and teamwork,
and retain high achievers.
“Great Things Happen When You’re Present”
© 2022, Dr. Leatrice R. Brooks