Know your team more than just as workers

Everyday you have the opportunity to engage with your team members. During these times you have to take the necessary time to go beyond the “shop” talk with them. Your team members care about things outside of work. Whether you like it or not they have a life outside of work whether you email, text or call them after standard work hours.

I have never asked my teammates to work more than 8 hours a day. My job is to provide a culture that makes them want to work more than that because they enjoy everything about being at the office or whatever they call their desk. If you go back to the definition of leadership it is convincing others to do what you need them to do.

Your teammates need more engagement from you than “What work are you accomplishing today?” Ask how things are going at home, with the family, side projects, etc. These Moments gain you a leg up in your relationship with your team. It shows you care about them and they aren’t just a cog in the machine. Take the time to find a lunch to get individuals out of the office and talk to them outside of the office walls. Heck, take the team out. Exiting the office walls opens people up to tell you what is going on. They will tell you about things inside and outside the office.

Here are some options to get closer to team:

  1. Individual or team lunches. This is a classic way to get on a better foothold with your team.
  2. Side projects. Encourage your teammates to pursue other work. This will get them involved in other technologies and learn more. Sometimes they need to get outside of the team to learn and ultimately they will bring back what they learned to the team.
  3. Career progression. Find paths for your teammates to pursue their career.
  4. Family. If they are willing to share, then learn about what’s going on with their family and follow up with them.
  5. Hobbies. Work is not a hobby. Find out what they do to find a common ground or know what they like for conversation.
  6. Let them talk. People want to talk about themselves. Let them know you want to listen to it. Ask them questions and listen to the answers.

Ensure that you have outside work relationships with your team. This doesn’t mean hanging out with them after work, but learn what they do after work or what is going on in their life that affects their work.