Last week kicked off this new weekly Sunday ritual. Each Sunday we will share a specific leadership act for you to “try on” or reinforce your style of leadership.
The response to the leadership ritual was positive. So, we’ll continue it until it runs its course.
As you gear up for a great week, I want you to consider how you’ll connect with employees. How will you put the humanity back into work?
Why? Well, it’s convenient for us to assume our employees know that we appreciate them, their contributions. Reality is that in the flurry of emails, endless meetings, cram sessions before presentations, and on and on, we don’t take time to connect with employees for no other reason but to acknowledge that they are people.
Leadership Act: Connect with Your Employees
- Identify the employees whom you know little about. Schedule time to learn about their “story” directly from them: personal interests, ideas, aspirations, and even concerns. If needed, incorporate the conversation in a one-on-one.
- Use internal social technologies (Yammer, Socialtext, Liquid Planner, blogging) to send a Monday Recap of previous week’s successes. Include in the message praise for hard work and gratitude for specific contributions from teammates. If you don’t use social technologies, send an email or post the recap on your intranet. Do this weekly. Invite a dialogue.
- Lead Listening Sessions to hear directly the thoughts, ideas from your employees to help win a client, or ideas on improving service levels, or even what’s on their minds.
- Take your team to mid-day coffee to blow off steam, to help reduce stress, to clear the mind.
- Assemble a team of employees and managers to work with you to plan a celebration for any industry specific weeks. For example, Customer Service Week is October 3-7, 2011.
- LBWA or Leadership By Walking Around: Stop to talk with employees.
- Eat lunch in the office lunchroom or café. Don’t only sit with other managers. Sit with employees, too. Participate in conversations.
- If you’re up for really up for growing in this leadership act, reconfigure your work environment to be more open: remove cubicle walls; seat people together by collaboration possibilities and not by department. And you should sit amongst employees.
As always, consider your culture and the direction you need to move your culture and people. Some of these ideas may flop on you if you don’t take into consideration your current culture. Think about the current reality of your team, company. Also, be prepared for some skepticism. Be steadfast and continue to demonstrate how you genuinely want to connect with employees for no other reason other than to connect. If you do meet resistance, it’s better to know it exists and then work through it. It beats denial.
Also, use your voice to vote on future installments. Visit our Facebook page to vote for your favorite upcoming topic. Add you own topics, too. I’ll use your input for this special Sunday ritual.