Drew, a founder from Boston, wrote:
Rebecca, How do I connect better with my team? People perceive me as a smart and nerdy guy to work for, but not fun enough to invite to gatherings. My strengths gave me the tools to start my company, but Covid, competition and other business concerns make me realize that it’s important to relate better, beyond a technical level, to my team. P.S.I can’t afford $$$$ outings .
Drew, you are correct! COREageous leadership requires connection. My mentor, Dr. Edward Hallowell refers to the need to build strong relationships as your company’s “Vitamin C” for Connect.
Accept that you may never be seen as “the fun boss,” and frankly, as a leader that may not be in your best interest. I sense that you would like to strengthen the bond between you and your team. Here are some affordable ways to build healthy connections:
Every few weeks bring your staff together (or do a one-on-one) for an informal walk or a group coffee chat at an outside location. Ask about their interests, where they are from and what’s going on with them. Forget yourself and listen with curiosity. You may not find football or trips to Disney very exciting, but it is interesting to see what floats their boat. This effort, perhaps a bit outside of your comfortable zone, signals that you care. If asked, share your interests. Look for commonalities. Until now, you may have been somewhat of a mystery to them.
If that’s a stretch, walk around the office once a week. Spend a few minutes with each person to see how they are doing. If that’s too personal, ask for feedback on their project.
These simple steps can build closer bonds and greater dedication to your mission. Not sure if you’ll be included in board game night, but you’ll be more approachable and that is where connection starts.
In business “communication is everything.” What are your gifts and gaps in communication? Let’s discover together. Contact me at [email protected]