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How to Motivate Your Team Through a Hectic Time

FILED IN: Behind-the-Scenes, Education, M&G Happenings, Unboxing the Business

Posted By: Jamie Kutchman

As we’re embarking on a potentially business-changing brand partnership opportunity here at Marigold & Grey, I’m beginning to give a lot of thought to the amount of negotiation, infrastructure build-out, risk tolerance, and overall change that is going to be required.

This opportunity for our curated gifting company is the type that we’ve been working for years to be prepared to take on successfully as a small business, and so I’m incredibly thankful to have this shot! But in addition to this excitement, the amount of work required to get this over the finish line is not lost on me.

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We are steadily busy throughout the year, whether working on the business or in the business. And then, as you know, the holiday season for any gifting business is literally bananas. We’ve come to accept these cycles of busy-ness. But tackling a partnership of this magnitude is something that doesn’t happen every calendar year. It has me contemplating ways to motivate my team through this transition, should this partnership come to fruition and it’s looking like it will. 

Here are my tips for how to motivate your team through a hectic time. 

1.  Work Alongside Them and Show You’re in it Too.

I’m the CEO and responsible for moving the business forward. It’s my job to work more ON the business than IN the business to ensure a successful future. However, there is no substitute for “hands in boxes” as I call it. I need to be in the weeds from time to time, so I understand what my team is experiencing on a daily basis.

I need to understand their challenges, identify my own areas for improvement, and also show them that there is nothing I won’t do to join them in making this business a success. When things get hectic, this is more important than ever that I am both present and on their side.

For more on this topic, be sure to read my advice on how to reorganize your small business.

2.  Offer Fun Treats as Appreciation and Way to Lift Spirits.

During stressful times, breaks are essential even if they can only be short breaks when the workload is at its highest. Treating the team to lunches periodically or even planning theme days to lighten the mood goes a long way toward keeping the morale positive when the pressure is on. (Our team especially loved “Plaid Moods are Better Than Bad Moods” as a Theme Thursday.)

3.  Don’t Forget the Importance of ‘Thank You’.

Yes, your employees are on payroll. Yes, they receive healthcare and paid vacation and other such benefits. But something as simple as saying ‘thank you’ is impactful. Everyone wants to feel seen and know that their individual contribution matters. Even if you as the CEO are working as hard as they are, and many times in ways they don’t even see, thanking employees is essential! They could choose to use their talents elsewhere so letting them know that you want them there can go a long way.

Morale is not a small thing. It’s everything to a business and can make or break you in the hectic times, and all the time.  

4. Ask How They’re Doing and Really Listen and Try to Address Any Concerns That Come Up.

As hectic as things can get during times of change or increased volume, make time for listening to your team, most especially the challenges they’re having. As busy as you are as the CEO and as many things as you have on your plate (trust me, I know), figure out a way to address their concerns as best you can. Progress of any amount will be noticed and will let the team know that you care about their overall experience working with you.

5.  Change What You Can and Help Deal With the Rest.

You obviously can’t fix everything, or at least not right away. But attempt. Take steps forward. Let your team know that you hear them and care what they have to say. And speaking of their challenges, consider jumping in to help with their particular challenge personally. It’s a small amount of time out of your day that can make a world of difference to a team who is working harder than usual and bordering on exhaustion.

As CEO, it’s crucial that you pull yourself out of the weeds to work ON the business rather than IN the business. (Read here for tips on how to plan a successful workcation.) But in times of chaos or massive spikes in production, working ON the business can sometimes mean dropping everything to work ON morale. Morale is not a small thing. It’s everything to a business and can make or break you in the hectic times, and all the time.  

How do you keep your team motivated?

Whether you are managing a group of five or five hundred, what tactics are tried and true to keep them keeping engaged and on board?

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