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Every leader wants to keep their team engaged, but it doesn’t always happen quite the way we’d like.

Sometimes there are things out of our control like health issues or tensions at home that keep people on your team disengaged.

Other times it’s more obvious like laziness or a bad fit.

Regardless of what it is here’s something I’ve learned that’s helped me help the different teams I’ve led stay connected to our shared mission:

Checking-in with your team keeps your team from checking-out.

As a boss I struggle with being closed off sometimes. When I get focused on something it’s hard for me to stop till it’s done. I’ll closed the door to my office, turn the phone off, and just go at it until I’ve reached my goal. I tend to be more productive in silence.

Now that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes you’ve just got to get stuff done. Sometimes there’s a deadline that just has to be met. And a little silence every once in a while is good for the mind and soul.

But the thing I struggle with is when I come out of those times. Far too often I feel disengaged and disconnected. And if I as the leader get that way, how can I expect my team to do better?

So here’s a little of what I’m doing right now to check-in so my team AND I don’t check-out:

Walk the halls
I’m making it a point to pop in to everyone’s area at least once a day to see how they’re doing and if there’s something I can help them with. I know it’s not huge, but it shows I care and that I’m making time for them because they are important.

Give meaningful appreciation
Recently I had everyone take the appreciation language assessment (love languages at work). It was great to see how all of us experience appreciation in different ways. A note for one is meaningless to another. Verbal affirmation may be OK for another, but they’d really rather you get them a gift. The key is knowing how your team is wired up and meeting them where they’re at.

Know where they add the most value
Figure out what each person is good and what they like to do and do your best to help them find a way to use 80% of their work time at that, even if it means moving to a team that’s a better fit for them than yours. StandOut is great for this.

Remember and celebrate milestones
Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, etc. are HUGE. Put them in google calendar so you don’t forget. Then when they come around, use that person’s appreciation language to show them you remembered something important about them.

Do things all of you enjoy together
Sometimes this is lunch, ice cream, or coffee (weird that all of mine are food-realted). The more time you spend together the easier it’ll be to figure out what the group likes to do. Schedule time to do these things together at least once a month. Offer to pay from time to time.

What tips can we add to this list?


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