Last week we started a four-part series on what to do if you’re a new team leader. We focused on connecting with people and asking them key questions to establish deeper connection. The challenge is that most leaders start their new opportunity to lead, the wrong way. They focus on tasks and what people do instead of who they are, why they work there, and what ignites their fiery passions.

Today, let’s hit the second priceless practice.

Most leaders start their new opportunity to lead, the wrong way. They focus on tasks and what people do instead of who they are, why they work there, and what ignites their fiery passions.

Create Team Building Environments

Most people stick their noses up at the thought of investing time and/or money in building environments to make their team better. The common thought is, “If they’d just do what I’m paying them to do, we’d be fine!” WRONG! Your team can always get better. Period.

Let’s look at two simple environments you can create right now. The first is a monthly meeting. Now I know that most people HATE meetings, but this is a bit different. The monthly meeting gives you an opportunity to review results, cast vision, and create clarity. Your team wants to know how they’re doing and where they stand. So review your prior month’s numbers and compare to pace and plan. This allows everyone to get on the same page. It also gives you a few moments to clarify the course for the next month. Do you have any team incentives? I used to offer to buy our team lunch if they hit certain marks. The monthly meeting gives you a chance to clarify those so that the team knows how to work together to earn something special.

Use this time wisely and don’t forget to cast vision because people connect emotionally to it. Vision inspires and reminds the team why they do what they do. But please do me a favor. Do not start the meeting, hit the numbers, restate the vision, and wrap up. Use this as a time to build your team by helping them learn more about each other and have FUN doing it! Teams that play together win together. For instance, ask them an opening question like, “If you could have any super power, what would you have?” Questions like that allow you to laugh together, which also draws them closer. I asked that question once and one of our team members said that he’d be invisible so that he could go state-to-state doing his thing. I still don’t know what that means, but our team lost our mind laughing, and that is good for the soul.

Vision inspires and reminds the team why they do what they do.

The second environment is an environment of fun. For your team to bond together and to you, fun must become a normal part of the culture. When I took over a dysfunctional team, we created a smaller team that focused on planning fun events. They obviously had to be in reason, because we were a business. Our job was to save our customers money while making money. We did all sorts of things from team dinners, to bowling, to baseball games. Once we attended a Murder Mystery Dinner. Let me tell you, the acting was so bad that we finally couldn’t take it any more and left after the first act. Even though that night was less than ideal, we laughed and laughed about how bad it was for months. Get creative, empower a team to focus on fun, and start doing crazy stuff outside of the office. You’ll get so much more in return than the money spent.

For your team to bond together and to you, fun must become a normal part of the culture.

Put these ideas to practice this week and feel free to share in the comments how it went. If you already have a culture of fun, take a moment to share with us some of the crazy things your team likes to do.

image_pdfimage_print