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Summer brain drain

Derek Murphy //July 16, 2012//

Summer brain drain

Derek Murphy //July 16, 2012//

We may have conflicting views on politics, movies, and choice of beer, but when it comes down to it, the whole country can agree on one thing – it’s hot outside.

Living in Colorado, I’m not quite as accustomed to a steady supply of 100-degree days. But whether I like it or not, this is our current reality, and it can have a lingering impact that isn’t just about sweat.

Some in the medical community have said weather could have a direct correlation to our moods. According to an article on, researchers have been investigating the relationship between weather and temperament since the early 1970s, around the time the song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” was released.

While these studies are not conclusive, the key takeaway is that some people are more vulnerable to weather changes. To my understanding, this means that this heat will affect some employees more than others. How will they be affected and in what ways will depend on the individual, but as the manager or upper executive at your company, you might need to put an extra focus on your employees’ morale during these blazing summer months.

Even if lowered morale is created by organizational or external factors, you still have to manage those issues within your work group. Low morale can have a profound impact on the life of an organization. This is why you must rigorously pursue the causes and curative actions. When motivation is strong, performance is usually also high.

Here are some helpful tips to keep everyone cool, calm, and collected.

Encourage creativity

Since summer is typically slower than the other times of the year, this is a good time to encourage not only training and development, but also imagination and creativity. To encourage others toward creativity, listen to their ideas and allow differing ideas, discussion and reasonable conflict. Creativity is the ability to generate fresh ideas, and it is a skill that can be learned. You never know, one of your employees could come up with the next product or service that takes your company to another level.

Be open

Ask your employees what you can do to be a better leader or a better boss for them. Implement some of their recommendations to show that you take their input seriously. Show your enthusiasm as you talk about the team’s goals and vision, and indicate how pleased you are that people are willing to pitch in and work together. Your personal commitment to the team will inspire others to strengthen their commitment.

Have fun

At Booth Co., we actually plan our staff retreat during the summer months. For example, last August we took the entire staff and their spouses to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. The outing was a nice break from the everyday routine, and gave me a chance to show employees how much I appreciate them. Try to hold special recognition or celebration lunches or an off-site company picnic. Of course outdoor activities are dependent on the weather so if it’s 114 degrees outside, it might be better to cater in lunch or go to the movies. Not only is this a nice gesture, but it can also provide great team-building opportunities.

Just because it’s hot outside and activity slows down a bit during summer, doesn’t mean you should ever get lethargic about the morale of your employees. Don’t sweat it; with just a little focus on your part, you can get through the summer months together.