As a team building facilitator, coach, and speaker, I have observed and learned a great deal about teams and teammates over the last 20 years.
And one of the powerful insights that I often share at events is how to create team unity.
Building a cohesive team requires you to connect people to two very important things:
First, you have to connect them to a compelling common goal…
And second, you have to connect them to each other.
Those two connections are the foundation of all high-performing teams.
And whether as an office manager or coach or principal or business owner, you can help your team be more effective and productive if you can get everyone to recognize the impact that their daily efforts have on accomplishing a shared goal…
But you can have, perhaps, even more impact on team productivity and morale if you can connect them emotionally to each other.
To connect with others, learn more about them.
That is the value of team building events, where you have the opportunity to work and laugh together to discover RELEVANT insights and take-aways that you can implement immediately to improve your team interactions.
If you aren’t ready to schedule a team building event, though, you can still connect with the people you work with to strengthen your team. And that starts with finding out what the people on your team care about.
But you cannot just ask, “What is your passion?” – because that sounds a bit too forward and people are likely to be too guarded to give you a sincere and thoughtful answer.
So, instead, remember and then use the following question:
“What do you enjoy doing… that you don’t get paid for?”
This is virtually the same question as asking about their passion, just put in a different way… but it is far less brash. And it is a question that will allow you to learn more and connect more with the people on your team in three minutes of conversation than working beside them for three years.
But don’t just ask THAT question and stop.
Let that question open a door that your curiosity opens a bit wider, so that you find out why they do that, how they got started, etc.
It is always the SECOND question that leads down interesting paths of connection…
And an easy second question is “WHY is that…?” (or “WHAT about ____ is important to you?”)
For example –
You want to connect with someone in the office… so you find an opportunity, over coffee one morning, to say hello and casually ask, “What is something you really enjoy doing that you don’t get paid for?”
Maybe they answer “rock climbing.” Maybe they answer “gardening.”
Maybe they answer “I judge dog shows.”
Regardless of their first answer, it opens the door a bit – and your job is to widen the door with sincere curiosity.
“Wow… so what led to that being so important to you?”
Their response will often give you a much deeper appreciation of what motivates them.
If you know what they are passionate about, if you know what they want to be remembered for, what they feel is most important, then you know how to inspire and encourage them. You will have something to ask them about that you know is close to their heart.
You will know, perhaps, a bit more about their past hurts and challenges.
You will know more about what excites and motivates them.
And it doesn’t work only with teammates – it works with clients as well.
The key to Connect Better with ANYONE is to ASSC
Always Stay Sincerely Curious!
Asking a question as a bridge to business is manipulation, and is not what I am suggesting… That can seem disingenuous and off-putting and a bit slimy: “Hey, how is your son?” should never be immediately followed robotically with “Great, so, how many widgets do you want to order?”
Instead, ASSC because you care.
ASSC because you want to know more and connect and celebrate their successes and empathize with their challenges.
Because if you connect with what is important to them, and if they know what ignites a fire within you as your passion, that creates a bond and they will value your time and company and will WANT to do more business with you.
And that bond will protect you in the whirlwind of unexpected events and adversities that might otherwise fracture relationships between people.
As a manager of any business, you can have more impact and enjoy more effective interactions (and enjoy your day more) if you are intentional about connecting with the people around you.
Want to have a better day?
Want to have a more successful team?
Want to diminish stress and increase collaboration?
Remember the question: “What do you enjoy doing… that you don’t get paid for?”
Great teammates learn to ASSC!