By Mary McLoughlin.
Yesterday was a special day. I spent the entire day with my 4-½ year old granddaughter, Marin. We had fun together, talked about silly things and important things. We built memories and we bonded. Best of all, because we gave each other our undivided attention, we both felt valued and important to one another. It brings to mind Maya Angelou’s famous quote, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
How do the people on your team feel? Do they feel important, valued, like they are making a difference? Do they feel like they matter to you? The very best and easiest way to communicate this to your team is with your undivided attention. It doesn’t have to be lots of attention, however, you do have to give them your full attention when you connect. Investing one on one time with each team member is the most high-value activity you can do as a leader. Make the most of every minute by paying attention to four things:
BE FULLY PRESENT
- Take time to clear your mind of your agenda so that you can be fully present. A couple of deep breaths with your eyes closed before you make the call or get out of the car can really help. This is when I stop and pray.
- Put your phone away and silence it if you are in person. Shut down the computer, close your office door. Do what it takes to remove the distractions.
- You will discover that if you give your full attention, you won’t need to spend nearly as much time with each person, because they will feel like they matter to you.
- Ask lots of questions; keep the focus on them and what they need. Don’t solve every problem, just keep asking questions until they solve their own. (Team Connections has lots of resources about effective questions in our blogs and in Team Connections PRO.)
- Use active listening; repeat back to them what you hear. They will feel truly heard and that is as powerful as love!
- Tell them what you see in them. This is about their character traits, not their accomplishments. When I say things to my granddaughter like, “Marin, you are strong, you listen and your sense of humor makes me laugh,” she feels confident and doesn’t need to grab negative attention. She takes more risks.
- Create a list of character traits to refer to as you interact with your team. Keep this list handy to remind you to use them often with your team.
- Just be you. You are enough and your team wants to know the real you.
- Have some fun, laugh and share your stories. Share the ones when you failed and how you overcame. You will be relatable and give your team permission to risk and fail. Growth will result.
When you team feels valued by you, they will gain confidence, trust what you say and be loyal. They will remember you as the one who made them feel special, important and worthy. This foundation will create great relationships. Your team will trust your leadership and will rally around your vision and they will show up when it’s time to meet your team goals.
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