Crunch times — those long hours of work leading up to a product launch or deadline — are stressful and often unavoidable. As a manager, how should you handle yourself during these high-pressure stretches so you and your team don’t burn out? Here are three strategies:
Set aggressive but achievable goals. Think about something exciting but reachable based on the team’s level of performance and maturity. Evaluate the risks before assigning a goal. Learn from your team’s failures, and provide feedback to address their development gaps.
Keep open lines of communication. Crunch often affects a leader’s availability. Ensure that team members have a way to share key information with you, such as when they are being pushed too hard or things are not working as they should.
Recognize the costs of your decisions. Sometimes leaders don’t know exactly what they’re asking of their teams during these crunch times. Pay attention and, to the extent possible, share the burden and partake in the team’s sacrifice.