For most people Monday is the most dreaded day of the week.

This is unfortunate as Mondays occupy 15% of your week and another 10-15% of Sunday (assuming you start dreading returning to work the day before). Now perhaps you as a leader, are immune to this way of thinking. Fair enough. However what about the team you lead? More than likely they are NOT immune to the dread of Monday. A recent LinkedIn survey indicated that 66% of professionals start thinking about and dreading going to work on Sunday. So let’s spend a little time looking at how to address this dis-ease.

Why do we dread Monday’s so much?

Part of this is perfectly normal. The weekend is filled with fun and/or relaxation and we don’t want it to end. We look forward to ‘long’ weekends and relish the time we have with our loved ones. But even a ‘long’ weekend doesn’t end the dread of the first workday – it just moves it back one day. The start of the week is filled with problems and gremlins that appear to have been beefing up all weekend – just waiting to unleash themselves on us. It is also the day that weekly meetings tend to be scheduled, further eroding the amount of time we have to spend those troublesome gremlins. Oh yes – and email – that scourge of the 21st century business professional. Even if you took the weekend off there always seems to be a lot of people that decided to spend their weekend hours getting ahead start on cluttering your inbox with urgent requests. It’s no wonder that Monday is the least favorite day of the week for most people!

If 66% of your team is feeling this way it makes sense to try to see if we can address the parts of the Monday dis-ease that are at least within our control and/or influence.

Here is a short list of simple actions you can take that will help your team make this week different:

  1. Ask your team NOT to open email first thing in the morning. For many professionals this is the first thing they do when they wake up. The psychological damage this does to your creativity and ability to be proactive cannot be overestimated. You are immediately mentally doing battle with your gremlins even before your week has started. But you ask: What if there is a crisis in there? What if I do not see it right away? What if indeed? If your clients or coworkers expect you open email immediately in the morning they may send you an email to alert you to the crisis. In most cases however, they would have texted or called you. Now be honest with yourself: The reason we open email first thing in the morning is because it is a habit. We want to know what awaits us. You don’t have to. You WANT to. It’s like watching an accident – you just can’t look away. When should you open your email – after you complete the second item on this list – and NOT before.
  2. Identify your Weekly TOP 3. Those of you that have followed me for some time know that I am big on lists of three. Jack Johnson immortalized the number three in his hit The 3 R’s where he convinced us that 3 was the magic number. Why do I mention this? Well, some of you followed that hyperlink and listened to a bit of that song. That is what we refer to as a rabbit hole :). Did you fall for it? Even if you didn’t – you know you do at different times of the day, usually when we are at a low energy level. And your mind will always be attracted to what you focus on. If you focus on just ‘surviving the day’ that is exactly what you will get. Part of the way we address this in our flagship coaching process LeaderShift One2One is to have leaders identify three most important items that they want to make progress on in a given week, before they start engaging in the tactical work and the crises of the moment. What are the three most important items you want to make progress on this week? These should be the kind of things that you will feel good about at the end of the week – knowing that you made progress and did not just settle for survival.
  3. Lead with The Positive Focus: Make sure you recognize that your team is a collection of individuals that have lives and interests outside of work. One of the best ways to do this is to have each team member share one positive thing that happened over the weekend at the start of the weekly team meeting. This frames the meeting in everyone’s mind in a positive manner. The benefits to this simple exercise are too numerous to mention here (I’ll write about them in another blog). However – the more unimportant this exercise seems to you the more critical it is that you engage in it. Task oriented leaders are notorious more thinking this is ‘fluff’ and margialzing the importance of connecting with the team. Don’t fall victim to this thinking!

So that’s it. Three simple actions that will help you and your team dread Monday less.

Oh and did you notice there were 3 action items – 3 truly is the magic number.

March 6, 2023 / By


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* The Balanced ScoreCard (Kaplan/Norton)