Have you ever been in an environment where the atmosphere feels constrained and conversations are muted and far from genuine?
If you are the team leader you need to consider why it’s happening and how you can promote real open and honest conversations. Without people being free to share ideas and thoughts openly, creativity is stifled and employee engagement falters.
Some questions to ask yourself –
1. Do I actively encourage open and honest conversations in team meetings? In team meetings give people time to contribute and welcome different insights. Acknowledge the contributions and don’t dismiss out of turn. Nothing worse for a participant then saying something and either everyone looks at them with blank or incredulous faces or being dismissed out of turn, indicating what they said wasn’t rated. It will make the person think twice next time they want to make a contribution and potentially the business may have lost out on a different perspective.
2. Do I show I am listening? I’ve seen many instances whether in a meeting or in 1-2-1s a clear switching off when the other person was talking. From experience it makes you feel as if your views aren’t worthy of being heard. It’s frustrating for the person trying to share their thoughts and the business could be missing out on valuable information or ideas as the person usually grinds to a halt.
3. How do I react when something isn’t going to plan? There may be moments when your guard drops and a glimpse of anger shows. Not ideal but if it does make sure you go back and explain calmly so people know why. Ideally anger shouldn’t be shown as it can be very destructive. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with an apology, but it shouldn’t become a regular habit showing the anger. It certainly turns people off. The worst behaviour I’ve seen is cutting comments. The person receiving the comments withers and a little bit inside them dies. Those comments will stay with that person for years and will take a lot to shake off. Years ago I recall being told I talked rubbish in meetings. It stopped me sharing my thoughts as a result. One day a manager asked me why I didn’t contribute in meetings so I shared the story. Through their encouragement I opened up in meetings sharing information I knew about the business, which previously had been missing. As a leader your role is to nurture and encourage your people, not put them down. If something needs saying then plan it properly considering how you will give constructive feedback. And don’t open up the conversation by saying can I give you feedback as it puts the person straight on the back foot and on the defensive.
Hope these questions give you some insight into creating the team harmony.
Enjoy your Friday and weekend.