Learn More About Your Team to Build Trust
These days, it seems that fewer companies are encouraging after-work team building. Employees and leaders alike would rather spend their free time with their families or just relaxing after work. And that’s fine. It means less opportunity to get to know team members outside of the work setting. And it means you have to get creative in learning about your team and finding ways to build vulnerable trust.
In your regular workday, make the time to get to know your team. Go beyond the annual review. Use team meetings to learn more about each member of the team by getting feedback from them.
One way to do this is to pass out copies of these questions to each team member:
- Who is the best boss that you ever had prior to this job?
- Why were they the best?
- How does your experience with this boss help you in the job you have today?
Team members can answer these questions any way they like. They may even write, “I’ve never had a boss worth remembering.” Answers like this can be just as telling as a glowing review of a past leader – that employee may truly never have had a good experience with a leader, or at least nothing that stands out in their memory. Or they may be uncomfortable answering the question. The exercise is not just for you to find out what impresses and motivates your employees, it’s also an opportunity to get insight into their personality.
If direct questions aren’t your cup of tea, plenty of other team building exercises can be found online, such as this list at wrike.com. Whichever exercise you pick, try to stick to one that can be accomplished in about 20 minutes, where everyone has a turn or gets to participate.
Make sure it’s clear that these exercises aren’t mandatory; they’re meant to be a way to learn more about each other and how each person operates in the work environment. To make it more palatable, do the exercise in place of the weekly team meeting, so that it doesn’t interfere with daily work activities; and bring doughnuts and coffee or sandwiches to signal that this is a more relaxed meeting.
These kinds of exercises can be a great way for the team to build more cohesion and trust in each other. If the team enjoys them, try to incorporate them regularly, say once a month. They’re a good way to relax just a bit and break up the day-in, day-out work routine.
Excerpted from One Team, One Dream by Gregg Gregory For more information, get your copy of Gregg’s book, One Team, One Dream today! Available in both print and electronic versions!