Leadership clinic: "How do I motivate my team when we're all exhausted?"

Karen Blackett OBE, UK country manager of WPP, Group M UK CEO and a former MT 35 Under 35 winner, answers questions on navigating the tricky world of corporate leadership.

by Karen Blackett
Karen Blackett

Q: A new year has begun and here we are, all stuck at home yet again. My large team has worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, even after we had to make redundancies. But now, nearly two years on, working remotely again, and with all the talk of “the year of the squeeze” with inflation and energy price rises on the horizon, I can sense their motivation is beginning to slide. To be honest, I’m not really feeling it myself either. What can I do to rally myself and my team?

Karen Blackett says: This will resonate with so many people. It is time to hit reset mentally and physically. I think there are four key elements to such a reset.

Provide a foundation of support. As the leader, you set the precedent. Be open and honest, and lead a conversation that centres on how you are feeling (it will be a relief to others to know what they are feeling is common).

Schedule in that fireside chat with the company. Acknowledge the last 24 months of hard work, sacrifice, but also success. Recognise that it is still a difficult period. And make the commitment to spend time and resource putting a programme in place to keep the team going. Focus on their collective wellbeing.

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