How to connect as a manager or department leader with a simple game
Do your team(s) think you just sit in management meetings, don’t know how the latest tech works and you ask repetitive questions and just cannot relate?
If you are being serious, at some point in your career you thought this and the chances are some of your team members think this right now.
The lack of face time, the lack of chances to get to know you and what drives you often causes disconnections and fear within teams. Department leads and heads are often disconnected by one to four managers.
Your disconnect or distance may be by design, however, it is important you build deeper and richer connections based on IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence). The old saying people don’t leave company’s they leave managers is true, but often this is indirect because your influence as a department lead is to be the inspiration point for the department and often your role as a leader is to be the active connector between your managers and their staff.
With this in mind, I created a “get to know me game”, with four simple questions for you to answer, this should be live and in real-time ideally. This has worked with small teams and large departments and been a part of a get to know the leadership team exercise.
Here are 4 questions to ask and answer live:
- Best moment
- Worst moment
- Favourite moment
- The future moment (you can foresee happening)
This is a variation of a game some writers play to build out stories and ideas and concepts for stories.
The best way is to write this out by hand or by slide and sketch these out and explain like a cartoon. Visuals can help those who struggle to story tell.
This is a great way for you (and/or your management team) to show off your personality while enabling people to see you and the way you think.
(1) The best moment allows you to be you and say something team-specific or company-specific, I’d recommend adding in a personal moment that shows you as you.
(2) The worst moment shows vulnerability and builds trust. This cannot be a mistake based on other people or a recent mistake the team made, this is about you and your moments.
(3) Your favourite moment is a way to talk away from numbers and goals, this is what has happened ideally with your team or previous team, where they came together and collaborated or went over and above.
(4) The future moment is the way you can show your vision and your idea of what you would love to happen or how you would love for the team to operate or come together. The future moment is your moment to drive the team forward.
Very often with executive trainers and coaches, their approach is to run long-winded and multiple sessions where the majority of people wait for their leaders to open up and then have to quickly react with their answers.
Leaders have to lead and by starting this game, you can then encourage this to be a multiple player event. In hybrid work and less face time it is important you kickstart this session and you encourage follow up sessions in one to ones, one to few (you as the team or department lead + team) and then one to department sessions.
Larger sessions should be quick-fire and can be incorporated into department meetings. It is essential your faces are on display and your reactions are seen and felt. Without this, this will be another disposable session.
Good luck on your journey and be prepared to mix vulnerability and vision.
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