• Aryeh Brickner

Six simple ways to make your team sizzle this summer!

Summer is upon us, and for a lot of people that means a disruption in schedule and routine. As a manager, don’t bury your head in the sand (pun intended) and assume that everything will run as smoothly in the summer as during the rest of the year.

Here are 6 helpful ways to make your team “sizzle” over the summer:

1. Serve cold drinks and ice cream! Treat your team to some tasty treats. It’s amazing how a simple gesture like serving ice cream sundaes can keep a team motivated and grateful during the hot summer months.

2. Be proactive with your flexibility. Gather the troops before the summer and say something to the effect of, “I know the summer is coming, which means more carpools, camps, surfing, etc. So, feel free to schedule your day as you need as long as our work is progressing as planned.” The point is not to make people feel guilty about having to change their schedule around and to connect with them on a human level to show you are concerned for their needs.

3. Staff meetings at the beach! In my book, I’ve outlined how changing a venue for a meeting can invigorate a team. What better way than to plan a staff meeting at a beach-side café and then have everyone relax in the sun for a while before getting back into the office. Talk with your direct boss or HR beforehand about having the company pick up the tab!

4. Set specific summer goals. It’s easy for employees to take a long view approach of their goals and assume they’ll get everything done once September rolls around. By setting specific personal and team goals in the summer you’re letting them know it’s ok to alter routine but there’s still a business to run.

5. Coordinate vacations. If you have three customer service people and they all suddenly ask for vacation during the same week, that’s going to be tough. Ask your team members to submit vacations as far in advance as possible so nobody must be told, “you can’t take vacation that week”. As a manager it is bad policy to ever tell someone that can’t take vacation.

6.Decide: Work or vacation. My rule was simple, vacation means vacation. It sounds obvious but it isn’t. I wanted people to be able to truly enjoy their time out of the office and not be constantly reminded about their jobs. Try not sending them emails if you can and remove them from group emails, especially one which aren’t relevant while they are away. Don’t include them on meeting lists knowing they can’t come. Some people feel guilty going away when others are laboring away in the office. It’s your job to make sure they don’t. They should be happy enjoying their hard-earned vacation time!

Great management means being proactive and attacking things head on. Using something as benign as summer vacation is yet another opportunity to display great management and leadership skills.

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