Ways to Energize Employees – First 5/Last 5

What is your routine for the first five minutes when you arrive at your business or office? What do you do the last 5 minutes before you leave? Think about it. What do you typically do? I want you try something different for the next few weeks.  When it works keep doing it! You don’t have to be the “boss” to use it. Anyone can do it and be perceived as a more effective leader. Let’s look at what you can do to energize employees in the first 5 and last 5 minutes of the day.

20946766 - 3d illustration of leader with his followers
I know this simple way to energize your employees to start/end the day work. The First 5 and Last 5 minutes of the day set the tone of energy and motivation if you have a strategy that works. Over the last 20 years I have shared this with thousands of leaders in a wide variety of business models. It works if you have the courage to try a new strategy. It may take a few weeks to get into the grove and make it your own. Be willing to do it poorly before you do it much better.  Write a note and put it in your car to remind yourself in the morning. Put one on your computer to remind you about the last 5. You can also set alarms on your smart phone to go off twice a day.

WARNINGSome leaders are Seagulls the First 5/Last 5. They fly in, point out what is not good enough or wrong, squawk, whine, fly around and poop all over everyone! Don’t do that. A good way to find out how you interact with your team during this exercise ( or on a con call, running a meeting etc. ) is to use the voice record option on your smart phone. Simply push record BEFORE you walk in. Then you have to have the GUTS to actually listen to it. For some it will be very enlightening!
Before you do anything else in the morning take a moment to get in a positive mental state BEFORE your engage your team. Stand up, take a deep breath, get your “mojo” going, think about what you love about your team, how they add value and go the extra-mile. If you have seen me speak live – smile, squeeze your fist and do a 1, 2, 3….YES! Still feels good doesn’t it!

Now go out and energize your employees for at least 5 minutes: be present – be specific with your praise –  make eye contact – add energy to your tone of voice – touch where appropriate – high-five – fist bump – hand shake –  effective word choice! I realize that some of you have virtual teams and it may come in the form of a text, email or a quick call.

Ask about their wins, what they are proud of, what is going well, ideas to make anything better, what you can do to help, great moments with their families. Use phrases like:

  • Thank you for…
  • I am proud of you for..
  • I appreciate your effort on…
  • You make a difference by…

Use the classic Dale Carnegie strategy to give them a fine reputation to live up to. Praise people in front of their peers when possible. There are of course many possibilities. The key is to get out and do it! It is simple to execute and simple not to execute.

What you do during the last 5 to energize employees is very similar. You as the leader may be the last to leave so do it during the last 5 minutes that most of the team is there or at the end of a shift.  Take a moment to get ready, clear your head trash, get into a great emotional state and remember that motion creates emotion. If you have a team of 8 or you lead 100’s of 1000’s the same principle applies. If you have 8, engage those 8. If you have 100’s engage your direct reports AND get out where many leaders do not show up! In the service department, on the loading dock or with the receptionist.

I look forward to hearing how you use this effective strategy! Remember it works at home too.

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