Who knew a mere couple of months ago that wearing a mask would be THE thing, that’d we’d be working from home and that Zoom would become a permanent part of our vocabulary?!
During those few months we’ve learned how to:
- Juggle working from home
- Be more comfortable with all the tech that entails
- (for some of us) Add ‘teacher’ to our list of titles as we homeschool our kids
- Hold online meetings
- Figure out new coping strategies as our physical sense of community has shrunken drastically
- Keep safe and stay well while socially distancing
As we lean into continued social distancing now it’s time to focus on our teams.
Because we’re far far away from the office water coolers, and catching up over a cup of coffee in the company’s coffee shop or catching an impromptu lunch in the cafeteria is a distant dream, we need to be thinking about the mental health of our teams, our staff, and our colleagues.
When I’m asked to work with teams and how to help them Work Better Together, I focus on the 7 C’s. The seven C’s are skill sets that I’ve found working with more than 40,000 participants in and from more than 125 countries, are things we ALL need in order to be our best selves and to be of the best service.
I’ve listed each one along with an example activity for each. Read through the topics and pick one or two that you, your team, and/or your colleagues could use some support with. Then off you go to learn, laugh, and lead with the support.
Communication skills can easily make or break a team. The good news? No one is born knowing how to communicate effectively. It’s a lifelong journey. We as humans are social beings, so it behooves us to brush up on our communication skills.
One thing that gets in the way of good communication is a high degree of uncertainty and ambiguity. Sound familiar? Most of us have no idea when we’ll be back to work, the kids back to school and when, ona personal note, we can hit the dance floor again to shake our booties.
Humans direct an enormous amount of our behaviour to gain certainty. It’s shocking how much. And when we’re stressed and our tolerance for ambiguity islow, even normally great communication skills can go the way of the Dodo bird.
The good news is that you can determine your and your team’s need for ambiguity and you can amp up your communication skills accordingly. Check out my post that dives into all this and the quick, easy peasy survey you can take that will instantly let you know what your tolerance for ambiguity is.
2. Conflict Resolution
Stress levels are high, as is our certainty of what’s going to happen next with the Coronavirus so it’s not surprising that conflict has increased. Conflict is a natural human occurrence. Misunderstandings, confusion, strife, disagreements … they’re all par for the course.
But that doesn’t mean that you and your team have to be miserable and be left with lingering, unresolved conflict.
Resolve your next email conflict using my dryer vent technique. It’s based on a technique I designed when I faced a conflict that blew my socks off. Dive in, and discuss at your next virtual team meeting.
Culture is everywhere – it affects how we view time (is that person late, early or ‘on time’), physical space, gender roles, religion/spirituality and more. And yet it often goes unrecognized until there’s a clash.
The best way to find out about your own culture is when you bump up against someone else’s. Culture is the programming of the minds that divides us into groups (Geert Hofstede).
It can be a source or gentle humor (the difference between African and frickin) or the cause of wars.
If you either want to celebrate your team’s culture follow my team trivia challenge. I’ve used it with thousands of team members and it’s always a source of inspiration, delight, and surprise.
Please list 3 things about yourself that:
– your team members likely don’t know about you
– that you don’t mind them finding out.
Feel free to list UNIQUE skills, hobbies, personality traits, unusual things that have happened to you, roles you play, dreams, wishes etc. The more UNIQUE the things you write below, the better. “I am a wife (or husband or partner”) is not the best example as it’s too general and many people likely share that trait.
Some good examples are:
– I broke my nose when I was 2 years old.
– When I was growing up I dreamed of becoming an astronaut
– I am a great teller of stories and jokes
It’s trite but true; nothing is constant but change. And oh me or my, we are dealing with tremendous change now. Nothing feels the same anymore.
And while change is constant, how we deal with it is anything but. Some of us love change and are known to holler, with an ear to ear grin, bring it on! While others (due to temperament, early life experiences, or other things) cower in dread of it.
During your next online staff meeting why not give the topic of change sometimes? Use my post: Change isn’t a four-letter word, but it can be an easy to use quadrant
Creativity is to open-mindedness what syrup is to pancakes. In other words, amping up creativity goes hand in hand with SO many other benefits, casting off the chains from thinking that is mired in assumptions and small-mindedness, solving pesky problems, innovation, and more.
And yet, we tend to divide people into two categories; those who are creative and those who aren’t.
Pshaw, I say (vehemently and emphatically). We are ALL creative in our own way.
So have some fun and amp up the creativity on your team with my creativity questions. For those who may approach these rather unusual questions with suspicion, put your mind at ease and know that the point isn’t to find a definitive answer but rather to discuss answers in a group or in pairs and simply use them as a way to stimulate dialogue (and of course open up our thinking).
Another critical element to a well functioning team is collaboration skills, which may have gotten rusty given how much distance we’ve had to put between us and others.
Practice your and your team’s collaboration skills by picking an item from my list of 20. Have fun and collaborate!
And finally, don’t forget to celebrate your wins, your successes, the things that are going well and good. Make sure to make time with your team to do this and the mental health benefits will be many.
Be proactive and celebrate (because there’s ALWAYS a reason to celebrate) and you’ll have less of a chance of needing to be reactive (eg reacting to conflict, misunderstanding, and burnout) later.
Spend a few minutes now and pick one of the topics, one of the 7 C’s, that you’d like to work on with your team::
- Conflict resolution
- Collaboration and/or
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Seven tips for holding those online meetings you’re dreading
- Six simple tips for running better Zoom meetings
- Zoom troubleshooting tips zoom tips
- What we’ve learned during Coronavirus, even our babies!
- Once you’ve selected your topic from above, click on the relevant resource I’ve provided for you and your team. Use it for your next online team meeting. Your future self and your team will thank you.
P.S. Let’s stay connected. Free weekly coaching by email on how to use humanity and humor to problem solve, right here.