Isn’t it funny how quickly our workload can change? One day we’re doing fine, managing our daily tasks, making progress on our priorities and feeling connected to our teammates. Then the next thing you know, a project goes off track, a client has a problem, or a teammate is out sick, and all of the sudden we’re behind, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Maybe it was just a bad day and tomorrow we’ll be back on track, or maybe it’s the first in a series of days that has the potential to wear us down, increasing our chances of making mistakes and significantly effecting our outlook and energy.
It happens to everyone at some point. In fact, it’s probably happening to someone on your team right now. The question is not whether it will happen. The question is who is it happening to and how can you help. Someone needs a lifeline - a rope typically thrown to rescue someone experiencing difficulties in the water - and someone on your team probably has one. You just need a way to match these two up.
Here’s an idea that has been working for us, and maybe it will work for you, too. We created a set of KPIs on our team’s Weekly Adjustment Meeting Dashboard for every individual on our team called Employee Health. Each week, every member of our team has a chance to reflect on their workload and how they’re feeling about it. We’ve established Red-Yellow-Green success criteria for this KPI that is consistent for each person.
As a team leader, it’s great to have a visual indication of how everyone on my team is doing. I never want to see anyone statusing Red more than two weeks in a row. And if I see a pattern of Yellows occurring over time with anyone, I know to look deeper to see if their responsibilities or projects have experienced scope creep.
As an individual on the team, it’s great to have this mechanism in place that causes me to reflect on how I’m feeling every week. Without it, I can imagine that it might be easy to trudge along week after week, living in the Yellow and Red area, not realizing I was in danger of burning out until it was too late. And many times, when I pause to status Green, I’m reminded just how much I enjoy my work and how energized I am by the fast pace and high expectations.
As a member of the team, it’s so reassuring to see the team jump into action to help out when someone needs a lifeline. I think the willingness to status Yellow or Red and the positive reaction of the team when it happens are signs of a very healthy, high performing team.