We may never realize, or perhaps we realize too late, that we spend more time every day with our colleagues at work than we do at home with your family. Of course, we might have some extra time during the weekend or during holidays, but, generally speaking, we have a sort of steady, bigger family at work.
Now, what could be the difference between home and work? We have peace and understanding at home, but above all, we have love that brings us together. What could our workplace mean to us, in general? For many of us, stress and deadlines, and colleagues who might rather act as our enemies than our friends. This is something many of us could relate to, unfortunately.
If we are to compare a company with a ship, as Monty Python did in, there must be in every company somebody in a leading position, responsible for the company culture. The leader, just as a ship captain, should above all bring love in his company, which in turn will bring inner peace and well-being for everybody.
When a leader decides to hire a new colleague, it is his responsibility to bring onboard somebody who fits the culture and the values of the organization, somebody who becomes an asset to the company and contributes to those values. The leader has, therefore, this crucial task of creating and protecting a safe working environment, a climate of understanding and camaraderie if love might be too much to say.
A leader should not only be consistent in what he does but also kind and understanding. He should meet with his people face to face, one-on-one, on a regular basis, because those people are not only his team but also his colleagues.
Instead of using e-mails and memos that may seem faster than those, sometimes too long, face-to-face conversations, such one-on-one meetings are the best and most meaningful way to communicate. When you send an email to your team, you leave a lot of space for interpretation, because, without that instant feedback you get when discussing, you simply cannot anticipate what recipients will understand of a message. More than 90% of a message is left to the interpretation of every recipient. The important rest is to be found in your body language, in the tone of your voice, in the emotions that come to life when we communicate with others.
Now, if your message could be misinterpreted, how could you expect to have feedback from your team? How could you solve the problems that appear in your workplace family? And the bad news here is that exactly this kind of lack of feedback might be the cause of your problems with your team and of problems between individual team members.
A team is composed of different people, with different capabilities, different talents. Involvement of each team member in a team activity depends on many factors: knowledge, availability, personality, but above all belief – belief in the objective and in the ability of the team to reach it. Now, this is one of the leader’s tasks: to create the structure or environment that empowers every team member; to decide, together with the team, how to respond to challenges; to discover together the value-added of doing things in a team rather than individually, to combine the talents of team members in such a way as to generate value. A leader, just as a ship captain, should constantly check the course and make corrections on the way, keep attuned to the changes in the outside environment and also not neglect the changes in the team. He or she must
every now and then stop and look around, see how things are progressing, if people understand what is expected of them if they deliver what they committed to deliver.
In every team, there are people who do more and people who do less. And one of the problems that might occur in a team is the human tendency to get lazier over time. There are two ways of addressing that and keep team energy at high levels: provision of feedback and constant challenging and adapting of team members’ responsibilities, taking into account the dynamics of the outer world.
It is in our human nature to seek and get appreciation from our peers and from the hierarchy. A leader should pay equal attention to those who are too much rewarded, and to the underperformers. Those who are too much rewarded take this as granted and they tend to really believe that they must be far more valuable than they really are, in fact. They should be immediately coached and even criticized, otherwise, they will really start to believe that they are needed badly as they are and that the team would fail without them.
More than this, a leader must never approve or even encourage the practice of letting the best members of the team criticize the weakest. This might create confusion because the leader’s authority is somehow undermined by those team members who think they are above all.
One should not underestimate the power of what is lately called ‘Workplace Camaraderie’, mainly a sort of closeness amongst team members, a sense of belonging. It’s all about that special company culture where colleagues become friends, they enjoy spending time working in the same place, in the same teams, they share similar beliefs, they challenge each other, they have fun and support each other and the company becomes just a big family, where everybody takes his or her role seriously and acts respectfully and responsibly, and most importantly, where people trust each other.
Now, if a leader understands that workplace camaraderie really matters and wants to have a company culture of peace and, why not, a company culture of love, he or she must create opportunities for staff to get together, to discover each other. There are several kinds of events that could be promoted, to have a happy team. Anything from ad-hoc gatherings, Christmas or Easter breakfast or lunch events, where each colleague brings a home-made speciality, staff parties to celebrate team achievements or company achievements, charity events, where people get involved and raise money for charitable purposes, well-being activities, team-building events outside the company premises, or anything else that people feel comfortable in doing.
One thing is sure – if the members of your team better know their colleagues, then they will come to work with the pleasure of seeing them, even for a small talk, which can lead to deeper connections, building trust and becoming more effective and efficient. Coming to work each day with energy and enthusiasm will energize the company, will feed in that culture that makes people feel their best at work and, of course, that helps the entire team to perform better, to work as a real team.
Good leaders make all the necessary steps to come down from the top to bond with their team because they are aware that the fresh air of socialization and, more than this, of informal communication within the company, enables that desired atmosphere of camaraderie, which is an important necessity for the success of any company.
A team that feels good together, with their leader as close as it should be, can only grow stronger and stronger every day. When love is in the air, the results will certainly follow!
Human Potential Activator