How to Lead a Tired Team

How to Lead a Tired Team

For many of us, the end of the pandemic was synonymous with returning to normality. As restrictions ease worldwide, our COVID vocabulary becomes increasingly obsolete. However, as the global pandemic ends another war begins, and the world finds itself sitting in uncertainty again.


The past two years have demanded so much agility and resilience from leaders and team members alike. The prolonged, unrelenting pressures have led many to emotional, mental and physical exhaustion.


So, how do you lead a team that is tired? A recent Forbes article suggests that in order to motivate a team to act, a balance between compassion and containment must be struck.


Compassion in leadership is demonstrated through an ability to express vulnerability. Leaders who can share their feelings of discomfort or say ‘I don’t know’, teach their team members that it is acceptable for them to do the same. This demonstration of vulnerability builds trust in a team dynamic. It also creates a safe space for team members to vocalize when they are in need of help, and therefore preventing burnout.


A compassionate leader will also foster the fundamental feeling that the individuals within a team are good enough, and that they are worthy of their position. This can be achieved not just by focusing on the targets and goals achieved but also recognizing their personal qualities and personality traits that benefit the team.


Containment, on the other hand, is the ability to be aware of what is going on in the world and simultaneously maintaining a level of stability. This is demonstrated by setting boundaries and limits, and keeping work challenges at an optimal level. It is collective defiance against the gloom.


After demonstrating compassion, try to balance it with containment by energizing the team. Sharing successes, gamifying team goals and dividing long projects into sprints are great ways to encourage employee engagement.


Leaders are not expected to know everything, nor are they expected to be an unrelenting source of inspiration. It is the ability to be vulnerable and ask what is needed from your team in hard times that ignites motivation.