If social distancing and the current events of the world have you feeling a bit restless or even frantic, you’re not alone. But by making only a few adjustments to your routine and mindset, you can stop feeling overwhelmed and recapture your focus. With that in mind, here are three tips management expert Dan Pink has for people who want to take back control in the workplace.
Start with small wins: Not long ago, popular business thought encouraged leaders to aim “for the moon” to motivate themselves to stay on track in pursuit of goals, says Pink. But research has shown the opposite is true, he says. People are best inspired at work by making meaningful, day-to-day progress. How? Pink recommends finding the unique personal contribution you can make as an individual, rather than on changing the whole world. Try to move toward your goal by just a few feet, one day at a time, he says.
Infuse your goals with purpose: These smaller goals should still be in service of some type of purpose, Pink says. Having a greater meaning is what distinguishes your daily accomplishments from busy work or leisure activities. Beating a record in his golfing app, he says, isn’t a small win, but a “small indulgence.”
Citing an example from his own life, Pink says, when recently writing his forthcoming book about the science of regret, he lost his handle on the project’s overall purpose. A coach advised him to explicitly write down why the book was important to him. He ended up with a two-sentence “North Star,” which is now on a piece of paper affixed to the wall of his office.
Lead by example: Leaders can help employees set purpose-driven goals with their own example, Pink says. Good leaders will focus on helping their team feel safe and as if they belong as a vital aim of the business, rather than a “nicety,” Pink says. Start by being more intentional about building community and psychological safety. Ask yourself: “What can I do in my word and deed to establish that sense of belonging?” he advises.