No doubt about it: Regardless of the time of year, we remain in a state of exhaustion. Look at some of your most promising employees: Do you remember a time when they were on fire, when they had fantastic ideas, contributed at staff meetings, and regularly went above and beyond the call of duty? And do they now simply appear to be going through the motions?
If you’re a business leader scratching your head for ideas, there’s good news. In this slideshow, Brady Wilson, author of “Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need,” has identified five simple ways to reinvigorate employees — solutions that not only take up little time, but will energize the brain and body, leading to a higher-performing workforce.
Reenergizing Your Staff
Click through for five tips on how managers can reinvigorate employees and build a high-performing workforce, as identified by Brady Wilson.
Want to give employees a really quick energy burst? If you have even just two minutes, consider having a quality, face-to-face conversation with them. Science shows that conversation releases three high-performance hormones in the brain:
- dopamine, which enhances pleasure, cuts pain, and increases creativity
- oxytocin, which increases bonding and trust, and decreases stress
- serotonin, which reduces fear, tension and worry
Keep in mind, though: The challenge is in having a quality conversation. This requires you being present in the moment, focused on the person you are speaking with, showing genuine curiosity, and not being distracted by other things or thoughts.
Are your employees having difficulty juggling between multiple tasks? When our focus is continuously split among a plethora of responsibilities, the impact is intense mental exhaustion. Like any technology, the brain itself has a limited amount of RAM — and will become bogged down if too many applications are open at the same time. In other words, it is unrealistic to expect people to consistently create high-quality work amidst distraction after distraction.
Minimizing distractions can make a positive difference on employee performance. For example, consider holding fewer meetings — or at the very least, only hold pre-scheduled meetings, as ad-hoc invitations have the potential to interrupt employees in the middle of “flow.”
The emotional part of the brain is powerful — much more so than the rational part. In fact, when it comes to making decisions, the emotional side of the brain wins almost every time. As a result, when people are feeling negative — which depletes their energy — they are significantly less productive.
The good news is that leaders can pave the way for employees to shift from emotionally oriented behaviors to goal-oriented behaviors by encouraging regular meditation. Science shows meditation can strengthen the anterior cingulate between the emotional and rational parts of the brain. As an idea for a team activity, bring in a yoga instructor for an hour every week.
Facilitate Healthier Eating
When people are stressed out, what do they normally reach to for comfort? You’ve got it: the nearest nourishment available. Unfortunately, that often means opting for unhealthy fast food cheeseburgers, grabbing a couple of cookies from the office kitchen or reaching into a co-worker’s jelly bean jar.
Interestingly, our bodies slough off 300 billion old cells every day — and grow 300 billion new ones. If the new cells are superior to the ones they replace, the body becomes more energized (no wonder diet has such a powerful change on someone’s energy levels). While leaders can’t mandate what their employees eat, they can facilitate healthier (and more superior cell-building) eating by putting a moratorium on communal goodies in the kitchen. As well, rather than taking employees out for fattening, energy-depleting team lunches, consider holding a potluck, and asking everyone to bring in their favorite healthy dish.
Embrace Stress (of the Body)
While reducing stress of the mind, remember that stress on the body is actually a good thing. Why? The human body consists of mitochondria, akin to micro-power plants embedded in the muscle tissue. Like power generators, mitochrondria produce energy. And the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you feel.
In fact, lean muscle mass holds up to 10 times more mitochondria than “soft” muscle mass. Therefore, leaders should encourage employees to stress their muscles every day, making them a little leaner, helping the body to grow more mitochondria, and producing more energy. As one idea, consider coordinating an employee discount on nearby gym memberships, or offering financial reimbursement for fitness classes.