Leigh Ann Rodgers with Better Teams
Happy Teams are More Connected
Connection is a core characteristic of happy teams. HAPPY is one of the five elements of the Better Teams model, and CONNECTION is a characteristic of HAPPY. Teams can be aligned, ready and even trust each other, but that does not mean they will be happy. If team members aren’t happy, they will usually either “quit and leave” or “quit and stay”. Neither is good for morale or the bottom line.
What is a Happy Team?
Specifically, a happy team is connected, engaged and fulfilled. In this blog, we are going to focus on CONNECTED. Feeling connected to others is a fundamental human need that shouldn’t be ignored in the work place. In the same way, all humans yearn to feel connected to others, to be a part of a tribe, family… or team. It goes back to our primitive days, being connected meant survival. In fact, today being united to a team of people working together creates safety and satisfaction.
Whenever people are working together as a team, the more they can know about each other’s needs, desires and goals, the more productive they will be.
Suzann Panek Robins, Author of Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition
How do you know if a team is connected? There are many observable clues that this is the case.
First, team members CARE about each other personally. In fact, team members have friends at work with whom they openly can comfortably express a range of emotions.
Here are some specific examples:
- For instance, team members know about each other including priorities, interests, motivators, stressors and communication preferences.
- Specifically, they check in with each other on both a personal and professional level, supporting each other through difficult times and celebrating accomplishments and milestones.
- Finally, team members openly appreciate each other.
Second, team members embrace a culture of togetherness. Connected teams are inclusive of everyone. There are no cliques.
Ways to observe connectedness:
- First, teams collaborate on important issues, creatively solving problems. They value and seek out the input and perspectives of their colleagues.
- Also, teams have a variety of stories, rituals, and inside jokes demonstrating their history.
- Lastly, team members describe the culture of their team using similar words because they have discussed and agree on the “feel” of the team.
The vast majority of all Americans say they use social media to connect with friends and family, including 93% of millennials and 84% of older generations.
How can team leaders and consultants increase a sense of connectedness in the team?
For example, one way to increase connectedness is to encourage the team to spend quality time together, and not just related to the work.
- Many teams enjoy spending time together both at and outside of work. Shared experiences of going to a sporting event, out to dinner, or whitewater rafting.
- In fact, connect socially using technology. Use Yammer or a private Facebook Group to share personal pictures and stories to get to know each other beyond the work environment .
Furthermore, another way to infuse connectedness is to create unique symbols and rituals for the team.
Great Examples of Unique Rituals
- Establish unique rituals and enjoyable activities that encourage bonding and a sense of tribe. For example, each week someone is awarded a “trophy” for going above and beyond. The person awarded the trophy then passes it on to someone the next week.
- Likewise, develop a team motto and print it on t-shirts or coffee mugs.
- Also, begin fun traditions, like bringing cake to celebrate birthdays or pot luck lunches.
Team icebreakers and activities you can use to build connectedness among your team
Furthermore, these are just some ideas to get you started. Be creative and make a point to build in opportunities to establish connectedness, especially if your team is busy or has remote members.
The Songs of My Life – learn about each other through songs
T-shirt Show & Tell - find out more about your team and have a casual day too
People Mapping – an energizing activity to learn where people are from or want to go
The Four Quadrant – discover new things about each person via drawings
Team Building In-A-Box – learn each other’s communication styles and how to work together better
Even more, happy teams will not only stick around, they’ll give you non-discretionary effort because they enjoy being on the team and are engaged and fulfilled.
Finally, what do you do to connect and bond teams together?
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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