Align with your team using this one simple exercise…

Meet John.  John has been part of his team for three years – he knows his peers well, the team is doing a good job.  The Manager has resigned from the company, and John is promoted.  Congrats John!  Now the fun begins!

So John comes in on a Monday morning, as the newly minted Manager of the team, now the fearless leader!  Certainly John has many great ideas to implement that will help the team accomplish great things.  He probably can’t wait to get started!

Hold on John.  Pause for a moment.

Even if you are 100% certain your ideas are the best thing to do for your team’s performance, be warned that many, many Managers have started off on the wrong foot by trying to implement good ideas before taking important steps to build trust.

The first task for any manager is to build trust.  Genuine, authentic trust.

I recommend one simple activity for John to gain trust of the team and get off to a great start.  The exercise is simply called “Start Stop Continue” (this is not my original activity – I learned it a while back, there are many representations of it online… I truly do not know the origination).  The idea is very simple:  find out what the team thinks that you (collectively) should start doing, should stop doing, and should continue doing.  

Start with a whiteboard (or note-taking paper on the wall) like this: Continue reading

Team Meetings People Actually Look Forward To!!!

Let’s say you are a new leader, with people reporting to you now… or… you have been a leader for a while, but inherited a new team.  o-BUSINESS-MEETING-facebookEither way, you know you probably should hold team meetings on a somewhat regular basis, right?  RIGHT!

But why, exactly?  I mean, most meetings you have been in (team meetings or otherwise) have been pointless, redundant, or ineffective, right?  Probably also right.  <siiiiighh>

Why do meetings get such a bad rap?  We just say the word, and people cringe.  In fact, I would guess that most of your schedule is packed with meetings, right?  Interesting!

The key to effective meetings is to be purposeful and deliberate.

We will talk about overall meetings, or general business meetings, in a future post (good article here if you’re interested).  But for now, I would like to focus on the first meeting you should focus on:  your team meeting.

This meeting should be the best meeting you hold!  It should be a highlight and a help to you in your work as a leader.  First step:  take control!  You own it!  Drive it!  Make it an exception to the “pointless meeting” stereotype!

The purpose of a regular team meeting should be to a) build trust, b) connect people, and c) make progress on the work (a and b will help accomplish c.  I promise).

Here’s how: Continue reading