5 Ways to Inspire a Detached Team
By Katie Kabat
There are many reasons why people may quit a job. Sometimes, as the person’s direct manager, those reasons aren’t totally in your control. Such as how much they’re paid and what their benefits are. A team may become disinterested or detached after loads of busywork.
However, a recent Fractl survey reveals 14% of Americans who quit their jobs did so because they weren’t being challenged. Translation? They were bored.
Even though fewer people are probably going to be quitting their jobs during a tumultuous time like this, it’s still best to keep your staff intellectually stimulated and willing to stick around once things start getting back to normal. As their manager, there are certainly steps you can take to make someone’s job more interesting.
Give the team Ownership
Boredom can stem from not feeling like you’re really making an impact. Seemingly small participation in an ongoing project won’t always feel like a true contribution. And worse, at the end, you may not get any credit for your work at all.
Having ownership allows people to not only feel a sense of responsibility for their work but also a real sense of pride. When you own a task or project, you’re leading it to success, which involves creativity, strategy, collaboration, and more. And, as a result, you feel much more involved and typically much less bored.
Suggest online learning opportunities
A great way to spark more interest in someone’s work is to help them reconnect with the industry as a whole. It also gives them a break from their day-to-day work while allowing them to zoom out and remember what they enjoy about their jobs.
Many in-person events have been canceled. However, there are plenty of virtual events taking their place. Meaning it might even be of less cost to you since traveling is not involved.
Ask what excites them
This is the simplest suggestion on here: Ask your team member what about their job excites them the most. Hopefully you’ve done this before and check in regularly to see what challenges they’re facing, what pride they feel, etc.
But if they’re stuck in a rut, and if it’s in the realm of possibility, try to allow them to lean more on the parts of their position they’re exceptionally passionate about. Or maybe they have an idea of something else they want to take on, and responsibilities can be shuffled a bit.
Offer new ways to contribute
Office monotony is a real thing. Working on the same things for the same reasons over and over can lull people into a sense of complacency. Even if you can’t change the person’s responsibilities, you might be able to make room for a few hours a month in their schedules to provide other ways for them to contribute.
Is there a project in another part of the company that could use some help? Does your company have a blog that the person could contribute their knowledge to? (I’m a marketer myself, and I highly recommend checking with the marketing and communications departments to see if they could use help, as they’re nearly always creating content and looking for contributions.)
Connect the team to the mission
Tasks — especially mundane ones — can feel very far away from the core mission of the company. Similar to feeling more ownership, it’s nice to be reminded of how you fit into the overall goals and how you’ve positively contributed.
The easiest way to get better at keeping your team connected to the mission is to:
- Provide context when assigning projects so everyone understands why it’s a priority and what greater purpose it serves
- Reporting on the results with your team and recognizing them for their contributions
Essentially, the more they know about why they’re doing their work, and the more they see the results of the work they’re doing, the closer they’ll feel with the overall mission — and hopefully the less detached (and bored) they’ll feel.
If you’re getting the sense your team is becoming apathetic and detached, consider ways you can add variation, connection, or context into their daily work. It’s not just a matter about worrying they’ll quit. Good managers want their team to be engaged and care about what they’re doing. Which will improve the quality of their work and, more importantly, the quality of their day to day lives.