Bringing Your Team Back Together
Since the relaxation of the COVID guidelines, many companies have either started to head back to their offices, or started to plan to meet up for the first time in person for over a year. Given everyones different experiences during the pandemic, will your team work as effectively as before?
Inspirational speaker on leadership and teamwork, Caspar Craven, has recently written an article on “Bringing Your Team Back Together” and he has kindly allowed us to publish a copy below.
Bringing your team back together (by Caspar Craven)
Your team haven’t been together in person for a long time. New people have joined the team – some of whom have never met the team in person, whilst others will have moved on. How do you go about successfully bringing the team back together?
It’s such an important thing to get right as in so many ways you are starting over, you’re resetting the culture, the vibe and the direction of your team. You are setting the scene and you can bet that there will be a healthy number of people feeling both anxious and also questioning whether they are in the right team. It’s important to get this right as people form opinions fast and with so few real life touch points, the impressions your team get will stick.
What’s on the minds of your people?
I spoke at an event this week bringing together 500 colleagues many of whom had not met and the mission by the end of the event was to start the process of collaborating together on a shared audacious goal. From talking to lots of the delegates so many themes chimed with what I’m hearing from lots of organisations. Some of the themes I noted were:
- everyone has their own unique experience of the past year and a half which is hard for others to understand
- plenty of people don’t feel valued by their leaders
- Mental health challenges are very widespread
And at the same time, teams and their leaders are under pressure to drive for growth and mantra’s like
“we need to be more agile”,
“we need to more resilient” and
“we need to undertake Digital Transformation”
are more pressing than ever to respond to changes in the marketplace.
It’s a unique blend of pressures and leaders need to be savvy to walk the line between the two places.
The starting point has to be engaging your team. And the crux of that is that it’s really hard to influence someone until you know what’s already influencing them. From speaking to different people we’ve all had such different and unique experiences of the past 18 months. Some people have had the most challenged times of their lives, both professionally and personally whilst others have thrived. The biggest mistake out of the gate is assumptions: assuming you know where people are.
Focus on building and re-building relationships. Give people the space to share and listen to what’s going on for them. If that’s classic cliche that people won’t care about the team goals, until they know they are cared for. Listen and then listen some more.
One of the ways a lot of organisations are showing this is by investing in their people. Investing in their development, their self leadership skills. The people we regularly have in our workshops notice and appreciate these efforts. As well as developing valuable skills, it also provides an environment to be seen, heard and understood.
Getting your teams back together is a key time to reconnect everyone with the story of the future. Where are you going and why does it matter. Sharing stories, allowing people to imagine how the future will be different and why it matters to each of them personally is vital to helping people feel connected. It’s that feeling that is vital. That feeling is what people will remember long after the facts of the event are forgotten. This is a vital time to leave everyone feeling better than when they arrived and to leave feeling excited and enthused for the future.
Your team will be full of smart people. Be open, be honest with them. Share the possibilities for the future and also all the challenges you face together on the journey to get there. The openness and candour will help your team feel engaged and together you’re more like to solve the problems.
Don’t be afraid to over communicate. Listen more than ever and don’t be afraid to put some fun into things. There’s plenty enough intensity in the world and have fun, enjoying each others company is one gateway to feeling safe and creativity which we will all need to achieve our big bold goals.
Caspar Craven is a motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur whose obsession is how to achieve ‘Big Bold Goals’ through effective leadership and teamwork.