Team Health Exercises Are Nonnegotiable in Your Business
I was recently running a strategic planning session with one of my oldest clients.
This client is exemplary when it comes to company culture and team health. They’re clear, aligned, and dedicated to building the kind of business where people thrive.
At this particular meeting, we had a lot of ground to cover. By the end of the session, we’d run out of time for the team health exercises we’d planned to include.
Oh well, right?
The team’s people leader wisely wouldn’t take no for an answer. So we booked a separate virtual session and went through the exercises over Zoom.
And afterward, the entire team admitted she’d been right. They said, “We feel good again. We’ve cleared the air.”
Let me reiterate: this is one of the strongest, most cohesive leadership teams that I work with.
But as this example illustrates: it takes commitment to stay healthy. Keeping the air clear takes work.
Team Trust Erodes without Attention
It happens before you know it: even with good intentions, team-building gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. You’ll get to it one day, when you catch up on all the work that’s coming through the door.
…and one day never quite seems to arrive
Over time, trust starts to diminish. Events in the business create uncertainty. Interpersonal dynamics lead to friction. There’s ambiguity, confusion, a lack of transparency. And it chips away at the trust.
Even the most sophisticated leadership teams aren’t immune to this erosion. A high-performing senior leader is still a human being.
Companies don’t outgrow this need to clear the air, either. In fact, growth is one of those triggers that can quickly diminish trust: when the company is growing, leaders are often uncertain about their role in the company’s future.
People need a forum to share their insecurities, air their grievances, and reconnect with one another on a personal level. An “open-door policy” isn’t enough.
In that way, it’s a bit like brushing your teeth (if, I suppose, you brushed your teeth once or twice a year). It’s basic hygiene, an ongoing activity that you’ll always need to do if you want to stay healthy. Skip it for too long, and you inevitably get decay.
Fostering Trust on Your Team
How exactly do you foster team health? With all of those exercises that seem a bit cheesy but—and this is key—actually work. With regular 1:1 check-ins. And with some social events that are purely intended to be fun.
Check out our list of Team Health exercises and the Quarterly Conversation here.
If you aren’t regularly clearing the air with your team…is there something you’re avoiding?
It’s not easy to surface the difficult conversations. But not discussing problems doesn’t make them go away. You’re much better off creating the space for these conversations to happen, so that you can address the challenges head on, learn from them, and continue to keep your trust bucket full.
Team Health is not only critical to employee well-being, it’s critical to a strong people function that leads to growth. Learn how our consultants can help you build and maintain a foundation of trust.