As you will be aware, the difference in behaviour from a person at work and at home can be astonishing. We’re all guilty of putting on some kind of mask when we enter the office, and those unable to leave the mask at home rarely fare well in the brutal and unemotional game of business.
Any progressive management consultancy will tell you that if a person is able to be a human being at work, rather than a robot, their productivity and focus is improved dramatically. Often, though, we are terrified to reveal the ‘real’ side to our personalities and lives, and wouldn’t you rather get to know your team on a personal level? The more they feel they can open up to you and trust you, the better your working relationship will be with them all, and the further they’ll go out of their way to please you.
Whilst hiring enormous inflatable wrestling costumes or arranging sporting activities may seem a good way to fuse your team’s relationships, this sense of structure and compulsory involvement can sometimes leave people dreading the day out instead of looking forward to it. Competing against people you know you’re supposed to keep happy is, at best, jolly nerve racking.
Never underestimate the power of just booking a table, having a few drinks and some nibbles, and just talking to each other. It’s the only way your team will truly relax and be their real selves, as the familiar environment of a pub or restaurant puts them immediately at ease. The more questions you ask about a person’s hobbies, interests and life experiences both happy and sad, the more you will find that you allocate certain projects to certain people, because you now know it will appeal to them specifically and they may contribute something others wouldn’t. Do you know where they grew up? What was their first pet? What did they want to be when they were a kid? These are all simple questions you probably never thought to ask your employees, and the answers may well surprise you, and give you more of an insight as to how their mind works and how they would prefer to operate. Be sensitive, be kind, be open, and tell them about your life as well. Soon you will find that the cold, stiff interactions are long gone, and you’re left with a team who feel completely comfortable enough around each other to ask for help, offer support, and build both long lasting business and personal relationships.
For more team building ideas, contact Function Fixers on 020 7186 8686.