When you’re in charge, a million things are being hurled at you: meetings, emails, projects to complete, and more meetings. Often, what gets put on the “back burner” is spending quality time with your team. Some leaders will even find themselves booking over 1:1s with their direct reports because some “urgent” came up. While it is understandable when this happens once in a while, it becomes problematic when this is a typical occurrence. The tip for this week is simple: Spend time with your team.
Your time with your team is vital to your leadership effectiveness. You’ve heard the song, “there is no me without you.” Well, there is no leader without followers. Your team needs you, AND you need your team. Make no mistake about that. Although you may be able to work on many things on your own, the work of the collective is what will make the best product. So, the next time someone schedules something over a team meeting (even if it is a social function), think long and hard before you accept it. Below are a few essential tips to help you ensure that you are team-centric as a leader.
Block time on your calendar for regular meetings with your direct reports and treat them as “off-limits” blocks
Host monthly, or at minimal quarterly, “office hours” where you allow your team to drop in for 15-30 mins to meet with you
Make it a point to spend at least 15 minutes a week in your team’s area interacting with them. Simply walk through their row or office area to exchange pleasantries and see what they are up to. This isn’t a time to meet with them to talk seriously about work. This is more of a social connection.
Schedule quarterly off-sites with the team. This could be a happy hour, service project, or team building activity. Regardless of the event, spending time together out of the office is pivotal to your team’s development.
Pro tip: even amid this current COVID environment, you can use these tips virtually. It may take a bit more thought on your part. For example, send your team members a quick check-in message on whatever internal chat platform you use. Ask how their day is going, what music they are listening to, or what is the first thing they plan to do for themselves when the day ends. Schedule a Zoom happy hour with your team. Host a skill-building webinar for the group as a team builder. While we all miss being together in person, please don’t wait until we can work back in offices again to make personal connections with your team. Now, more than ever, this is a critically vital practice to maintain. So, find ways to connect virtually.
Try these tips today to see an immediate difference in your team dynamics, and share with another leader who craves better team time too!