Three Questions To Build Relationships
Dear Leaders, I hope you are doing well.
I asked a CEO I mentor how they were doing and their response last week was “you are the first person connected to work who has asked me how I am doing in months”.
It is likely feeling a little harder as a manager as of late, alongside being a support network and a confidant.
For almost everyone, its important to know you got this, you have likely done a better job than you know and you will likely have some time off booked that will help you refresh.
With that said, I have three questions for you to ask your team to help you feel like you are making progress and some exercises to follow up with.
The 3 Questions
When was the last time you reconnected with your team members individually?
Yes, this seems counter to my opening of the leader’s letter, however, it is an activity that brings people closer together and allows all parties to want to connect. Arrange a speed round of connecting to your team individually and asking for their advice or their opinion on something important coming up in 15 minutes slots. Short and concise meetings are essential to connecting.
I suggest this is done on the phone or through a video call and a project that you will need their help and guidance on.
When was the last time you found out something new about your colleagues?
Letting you into a little secret, in the Focus remote company culture workshops, the first thing we do is ask you to answer a number of quick-fire questions as a group, aiming to bring you closer to your colleagues by finding something out you would not know today. Starting with a positive is something we learnt from leaders letter 2 from Disney chairman Bob Iger and this is a great way to achieve this.
A very popular free template we launched recently will help you do this and enable your team to find out new things about you that will help to bring down some fears or barriers to asking how you are and if they can help you. This template works with teams, departments or companies and will kickstart improving your department’s subculture.
When was the last time you surprised your team?
Being remote has been a challenge logistically for almost every company, as a manager, one of the best ways to engage and connect with your team is to surprise them.
I know you have a number of tasks to complete and big projects to smash, however, if you are in a place to, consider making the time and thinking about how you might send a small thank you to your team members or the leaderships team around you.
It could be something small like their favourite snack or could be a new notepad with a handwritten thank you note.
Liaising with HR will be important re addresses etc but small gestures go a long way to (re)build trust and connection and importantly, showing you are thinking of them and how they are doing as people.
By giving to others you are taking the time to connect, to build stronger bonds and offer yourself a rest bite.
Have a good week answering the three questions and actioning small but significant gestures, and you will be surprised what you learn and how colleagues will want to connect in a reciprocal relationship.
How about sharing a few teamwork quotes?