Think you know your work place team?

  • Are you the person that reads a name tag every time you see them and look foolish calling them Christopher when the rest of the office knows them as CJ?
  • What is their educational and professional background? When was the last time you even thought about it? Perhaps at their interview 2 years ago while holding their resume? Were you even the person that interviewed them?
  • Where do they see themselves in 1, 3, and 5 years? How can you help them achieve their goals? When was the last time you even got close to this discussion? Annual performance review when they are more focused on whether or not they are getting a raise which may impact the way they answer?

At a quick glance, most will probably think they have these covered.  Sort of a “duh!” moment.  I challenge you! How do you know? How would you know? Have you actually asked, or just assumed?

Interesting stat for discussion.

70% of employees say their employer should understand them to the same degree they are expected to understand customers (Towers Watson).

Companies spend billions on sales, marketing, research, travel, and every form of communication in between to understand and make a connection with customers, yet it’s not uncommon to work with a team of employees who rarely see or hear from their boss aside from instruction on the next assignment.

Sure, most companies do a generic employee engagement survey and work to glean information from responses of 3.5 average on a 1-5 scale for “I feel valued at work” and a 2.7 average for “I have opportunities for career advancement”.

Think about it:

  • When you answer those questions how much more understood do you feel?
  • Are you motivated to be more engaged?

Look closely at your team.

Next time you walk through your department, sit in a conference room, or join a web meeting. Consider what you actually know versus what you assume or have no clue about for each person. Imagine the power of harnessing full engagement! Picture less conflict over miscommunication! Envision leveraging each person based on their strengths and passion.

In our culture of growing technology and less perceived need for face-to-face interaction, it’s easy to slip into viewing people as machines. They’re not, and neither are you.

What to do?

  • “How are you today?” and a smile is a great start. Acknowledge people as people.
  • 10 minutes over a cup of coffee or a discussion over lunch with someone other than your normal lunch buddies. Ask that person that never gets asked or join that small group that you don’t understand. You might be amazed!
  • Schedule regular, open agenda meetings with your employees one-on-one. Let them share and inquire.  Safety is paramount here, so no judging, no dictating and no arguing. Listen! Be honest! Make it safe!
  • Utilize a tool like StrengthsFinder to better understand yourself and your team. This tool provides a safe, actionable language as a basis for great conversation. Trybal Performance can help you with this tool. It’s a cornerstone of all we do.
  • Training for you and your team to handle tough conversations with class and style. Trybal Performance’s “How To Talk About It” is an excellent program which builds on Strengths. Contact us for more details.

One final thought.

I often get thankful and positive feedback on personal stories I share in my coaching. People are people at work, at home, and in public. The skills you learn in one often transfers. Don’t build an invisible barrier between the two for no reason.

Go forth and UNDERSTAND your team!

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