Your team is critical to your success as a leader. Without your team, how will you get the work done? If you could do it all yourself, you wouldn’t need a team. Right?
When was the last time you stopped and checked how well your team was working together?
I find that unless there is a glaring problem, most leaders get caught up in the day to day busyness of their jobs and forget to focus on the team itself. Dealing with the people issues, good or bad, often get put aside for a less busy day. You know, that magical day that will come when you are all caught up and no more work needs to be done.
We all know that we need our teams to be successful. We all know that if our teams aren’t working efficiently and effectively, it will hurt our chances of success. We all know that if we focused on our teams we could improve our results. But how do we focus on the people when there is so much work to be done?
There are three strategies that I suggest mixing into your leadership toolbox as you see fit. Some are better than others depending on the type of work you need to accomplish, or the personalities on your team. A little bit of everything might be best.
Team Building Events
Take your team out of the office to a team building event. Yes, there is a lot of work you need to get done, but the work will be there when you get back in most cases. Participating in a team building event allows your team to interact outside of the normal routine. It can be energizing and spark creativity just by getting out. I find this especially useful if working on a long, drawn out project that is wearing on people.
Team Building Exercises
Select an exercise or two to incorporate into your team meeting(s) each month. Look at where there may be gaps within your team and select activities that focus on those areas. Or, ask the team to help you come up with ideas and be a part of it as well. I find this strategy to be most useful between team building events as a way to keep things going.
Promote Team Building
Find common interests or activities that the group can participate in to allow for team building. Does everyone have an interest in coffee? If so, take a trip to the local coffee shop together. Does everyone like to cook? Ask everyone to share a recipe or two. Does your team enjoy physical activity? Take a walk for a meeting instead of sitting around a table in a stuffy conference room. I find this strategy works well for teams that are running pretty smoothly at the moment, but you don’t want to let it slip.
By mixing up these three strategies, over the course of time you will have accomplished a lot of team building and see a lot more bonding in your team. Some of these activities take a few minutes, and some can take hours, but all of them are worth it in the long run. Team building is just one piece of being more people focused with your team, but it’s a great place to start.
What is your favorite team building strategy?