Wikipedia says that “slacker” refers to a person who does not work. However, it is much more. It is considered a slur in western society.
People who observe the Sabbath strictly avoid work one day per week. However, we don’t call them lazy. We don’t consider those who cook their dinner on a stove as lazy, even though they are avoiding work.
Slacker does not have negative connotations. Slacker is often associated with laziness, apathy, and poor moral character. Most team members aren’t lazy or apathetic.
We must address the key problem of how to engage our team. These six strategies will help you get started.
1. Make it relevant.
Adults love to feel that their work is relevant to the task at hand, their personal goals, or the goals of the group.
Make sure the group has a clear understanding of the task in order to make it relevant. Make it more meaningful by relating it to the larger mission of the organization.
Follow-up is also important. It doesn’t matter if it’s a task group that meets once a month to solve a particular problem, like evaluating customer service programs, or a standing group that meets regularly, it is important that feedback is received from both within and outside of the group. Management should give specific feedback to team members when the new customer service program has been reviewed. Once the program has been implemented, it is important to provide additional feedback. The meeting should be attended by the nursing manager group. This will allow them to assess the effectiveness of their meetings, and celebrate their successes.
It doesn’t matter if you are a facilitator or a member of the group, it is important to get to know everyone in the group. Are there any team members who are particularly interested in improving their presentation skills? Maybe he is able to prepare the entire group’s presentation with help from more experienced colleagues. Are you able to network with a member of your team? Maybe she can coordinate the data collection activities of the team.
When team members feel they are making an impact, they are more engaged. It will pay dividends to take the time to organize the projects in a way that each member can achieve their personal goals as well as the team’s goals.
2. Assess your skills.
What if someone didn’t have a driver’s license? Many reasons team members are chosen – they have the time, they are productive workers, and they know someone. Even the most productive worker might not possess the skills necessary to complete a project.
You might be assembling a team of employees in order to evaluate the new customer service system. Invite members from all stakeholder groups, even your top performers. After several meetings, however, it becomes apparent that the group isn’t making any progress. You realize that no one has ever conducted a formal evaluation. The group is in trouble.
It can appear to others that we lack initiative when we are unsure of what to do. Some members may not want to share their ideas or be unwilling to take part in an open discussion. As the group attempts to determine the best approach, the status reports of the group may be sketchy.
There are many options available if you feel your team needs additional skills or knowledge. You can add a few members to your team who have the necessary skills. You can also bring in a trainer to help or send the entire team out for training. Another option is to find mentors from outside the team that can help team members and offers guidance.
Although our example demonstrated a customer service team that seemed to lack skills across the board, it is possible that there are a few people on your team who do not have the right knowledge or skills. You can take similar steps to prepare them for more active roles without losing their knowledge, perspective, and participation. You may even find that some of the newer members bring a fresh perspective to the project.
3. Understanding Self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy refers to the belief that we are capable of completing a task. It is specific to each task. It is possible to have high self-efficacy when I am involved in sports but low self-efficacy when it comes to cooking. A team member who is less self-confident relative to the task or the overall mission of the group will be more likely to become reticent. Low self-efficacy often results in less effort and less success. Conversely, people with high self-efficacy are more willing to take on bigger challenges and exert more effort.
What can we do to increase self-efficacy in our team? 1. Begin with small tasks that will bring you success. This will help the individual and the group to feel more confident. 2. Use strengths of members. Give tasks related to organizing to members who are good at organizing. 3.) 3.) Allow members to watch a peer perform a task well. It will help the member to identify with his peer and increase his confidence that he can achieve success. 4.) Provide positive verbal feedback. Highlight the achievements of your member. 5. 5.) Create a positive culture in your team.
4. Set goals.
Goals are a great source of motivation and provide direction. You might have very specific goals, such as creating a procedure manual to process dental claims. However, sometimes the task isn’t as simple and you will need to have more general goals: find ways to increase your business.
The team’s process of clarifying and identifying the goal can have additional benefits if done properly. This can increase buy-in and team cohesion. This can have a powerful effect on the group.
5. Provide a Challenge.
A little bit of stress and anxiety can lead to depression or paralysis. It’s crucial to give the team a challenge in order to keep them motivated and engaged. It’s not difficult to find challenges by having teams plan and then follow through on projects.
Instead of asking the team to create a procedure manual for processing claims for dental work, ask them to identify the reasons why they are needed, determine who the primary audience is, and analyze the different ways that this information can be provided.
It is motivating to design work that challenges us and allows us to expand our capabilities while remaining within our limits. Because members of a team have the support and resources to each other, teams can provide the ideal setting for stretch assignments.
6. Take a look inward.
If we begin to label our colleagues, whether we speak out loudly or not, we run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our expectations are set by the language we use. These expectations influence our perceptions and the response we give based on them is more likely to encourage us than we initially anticipated.
If I believe that the team members are just slacking, it may be that I feel it is not worth my time to give all the information and updates about the project. I will likely be defensive and quickly pick up evidence that a task has not been completed.
My lack of information sharing and frustrations will only make the problem worse. This will likely cause members to divert their energies to other things while they wait for clarity about the project. However, if I am attentive to the needs of the group and focus on the successes, it’s more likely that I will create a positive outcome.
It’s helpful to take a step back when we begin labeling ourselves as “slackers” or something similar. Maybe we are under too much stress or have less tolerance for the typical group dynamics. Maybe we feel that our identity and reputation are tied to the outcome of the group and wish we could have complete control over the project. Maybe the group’s productivity has fallen and it needs to be improved.
Understanding the reasons for our behavior is key to identifying the root cause and taking the necessary steps to address it.
We will reap many benefits by taking the time to get to know the individual and the group dynamics.