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Why investing in your team is more important now than ever!


I've held the belief for a long time, that success as a leader starts with personally investing in your team! Getting to know them as individuals, not just a bundle of skill sets in your toolbox. Their personality, their health, their personal interests, their situations outside of work, just to name a few. I recognize that understanding all of these things about every member of your team may be difficult or may not be something your team members desire not to share. But your genuine interest in them in this way is important to establish trust between you, an element essential to team success.


Why is this more important today? As our business climate is changing, and more team members are working remotely, casual conversation and the social aspects of working as a team have suffered. It is far too tempting to only connect for the serious business discussions and not for the "getting to know your team" conversations that routinely took place when everyone was in the office together. This requires a purposeful focus by each leader to make sure their team stays connected.


OK, I get it, get to know my team, but how do I do that? Well, I'd like to share some practices that have worked for me personally, and for leaders with whom I've had the pleasure of working.

  1. Schedule 30 minutes with each team member each week. Allow the team member to set the agenda for the meeting. They can choose to discuss anything they would like. The goal is for you to get to know each other better. This meeting is not for statusing their work, you have other avenues for that each week. This meeting is about them, your team member. I've had team members talk about their family, their favorite sports team, their career path, and many other topics. Be prepared for your team member to ask you about your own personal situation. It's how you will get to know one another better.

  2. Stay connected with your team members throughout the week. If they shared with you a concern during your weekly meeting, follow-up with them to check on the issue. Even before engaging in work status conversations, ask your team member if their day is going as well as they would like it to go. Give them a few minutes to share any frustrations or celebrate a small win before engaging in the topic of the meeting.

  3. Be genuine with your team. Even leaders have bad days. Don't be afraid to share your own state of frustration if your day isn't going as well as you would like. Showing your team that you trust them enough to share your burdens will only strengthen your relationship and their confidence in you as a leader.

  4. Remote Work Addendum - Allow time on each call, if your team is all or partially remote, to talk about the small things. Schedule the first 5 min of each meeting for a "catch-up" conversation on topics of the day, or just friendly banter. Lead by example to show your team that this is not only acceptable but expected behavior.

  5. Remote Work Addendum 2 - When possible, schedule gatherings for your team. If not for specific work meetings where you can be together in person, set aside time to socially gather in a healthy, safe environment. Don't neglect the importance of relationship between you and your team and amongst your team members.

If you implement these recommended practices, I know you will see an improvement in your team relationship. In my experience, the highest functioning teams have had strong intra-team relationships. Take your step towards higher team function today by investing personally in your team members!




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