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How To Motivate Your Team During High Stress Situations

How To Motivate Your Team During High Stress Situations

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It’s easy to motivate your team when there’s no pressure, but it’s an extraordinary challenge to keep them going even when the stress level is through the roof.

Related: 5 Tips For Motivating Your Team

It can’t be helped. There will be times when the company demands more from you. You’ll be asked to come up with something brilliant despite a deadline that’s way too close. Suddenly, it’s crunch time and, like it or not, you have to breathe down the necks of your team members to make sure that they deliver.

Here’s how you can ensure that your team members perform well despite the work-related tension…

 1. Trust And Verify But Make An Effort To Make Work Fun

Keep an eye on what every member of your team is doing, but don’t get caught up in micromanaging them. Let them do their work. You don’t have to be in their face all the time.

That said there’s no harm in lightening up. For instance, you can make a game out of beating deadlines. Award a silly prize such as a stuffed animal or a Nerf gun to people who complete their tasks on time.

2. Practice Random Acts Of Kindness

Just because you’re dealing with a stressful situation, doesn’t mean you can take it out on your team. Make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Saying “Thank you” goes a long way.

There will also be moments when they need to take a quick break from what they are doing to rest, eat, or simply just breathe. Otherwise their productivity will go down and any work done from that point forward will be rubbish. Allow them to take these quick breaks, as it will recharge them.

As Tony Schwartz, head of the productivity consulting firm The Energy Project, explained “Without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.” However, if your team has to pull an all-nighter at the office, a late night meal or even their favorite coffee drinks are good treats.

3. Intercept Rumors

When the going gets tough, some tongues start wagging. There will be talk of heads rolling or unfounded assumptions about somebody being demoted. It’s your job to make sure that your team doesn’t start, add, or even listen to these rumors. Be straightforward and reassure your team that you will always keep them clued in.

4. Create Individualized Motivation Plans

Not all your employees will respond the same way to a particular manner of encouragement. Some of them may need to hear you praise their work, while others thrive when you let them do their thing.

Figure out what makes each member of your team tic. This way, you know exactly what to say when you have to “push” them. Be brutally honest to those who prefer a no-nonsense approach but be gentler on those who are more sensitive. You can say, “Can we try it another way? Let’s see if it works better.”

Lead By Example

Going on panic mode will not get the job done. Your team will take their cue from you. They’ll lose their heads if you lose yours. So, no matter what happens, show them that you can stay calm and not transform into a workplace bully even when the pressure is on.

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Michelle Riklan | CAREEREALISM Expert

About the author

Michelle Riklan gained extensive HR leadership experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Sony Entertainment and John Wiley & Sons. With a combined 20 years of in-house corporate and targeted consulting experience, Michelle currently services large corporations, small businesses, and individuals in all aspects of Human Resources and Career Management. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter or call her at 800.540.3609 for more information.


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Michelle Riklan Michelle is an internationally recognized, award winning résumé writer and a member of several prestigious career, training, and résumé writing organizations. As a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) and Certified Employment Interview Consultant (CEIC), Michelle has written hundreds of résumés and coached clients through all phases of the job search. Her résumés get results!