How do you create a sense of urgency without demoralizing team


Oftentimes for us as leaders, we say, "Oh, this is important. "This has to get done, here's the deadline. "Here's when this has to happen." That this sense of, "Ooh, it's gotta all happen all at once," I think can really drain our teams as well in the long run.

I'm sure this is something that's been top of mind for you as well. And so I think for us as leaders it's this interesting challenge of reconciling the fact that there are things that need to get done. There's absolutely a sense of urgency that you personally feel as a leader, and it's tough to figure out how do you translate that in a productive rather than detrimental way.

So to answer this, it really comes down to first and foremost realizing, well, why do we even want to create this sense of urgency in the first place? And for most of us as leaders, the reason we have this sense of urgency is not just because we enjoy, quote, unquote, "Cracking the whip, "or just setting deadlines arbitrarily." But there's real importance and value in something happening at a certain time, at a certain level of quality.

So once we realize what is really at stake for ourselves and for our team, what we have to then understand is, well, if our team doesn't have that same level of urgency, is it because we haven't made clear what's really at stake?

We haven't shared the historical context. We haven't shared how this fits into the rest of priorities. And because when we make that picture clear, and trust me, this takes time to sit down and share this with folks, to have the meetings, to articulate this in writing. But it's something that is so critical, if we actually want people to understand why something is urgent rather than just saying, this is urgent or this needs to happen by a certain time.

So really ask yourself, have I made clear enough what is really at stake? And the way to frame that is not just sort of a fear-based, right? And to say, "Oh, well, we're gonna go outta business, "or we're gonna lose all our customers, "or you're gonna lose your job," right?

That's not particularly helpful either, which leads me to the second thing that you wanna do when you think about wanting to create a sense of urgency without demoralizing your team, is that what's at stake, has to productively and energetically connect to what it is that the person themselves cares about. And it has to be connected in a way that's not a threat or a feeling of being put in a corner, but to talk about the possibility of what could be.

And so if this is successful, how and why should this person get excited about it in their own personal perspective, of what they care about and what they're motivated by?

Spend the time doing that, and then make sure to connect it in a way that shows, well, if this is successful, how this actually positively impacts and is connected to what your team members actually care about.

I look forward to having you give these a shot, of course, is it a silver bullet? Of course, not the stuff takes time, but I'm hoping it gives you at least an initial framework for thinking about how to communicate urgency other than just saying, "Do this ASAP, this has to happen." I so appreciate you taking the time to take this in, and be open to hearing this. And look forward to having you join me for another future manager tip.

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