Allow time to be a little more trivial
With many people still working from home, those quick non-work-related catch-ups a team member would normally take for granted have been lost. So if they are not bumping into people at the coffee machine or chatting as they wait to go into a meeting room, the only interaction many people may have right now is in a virtual meeting and it can feel just a little bit transactional.
To help managers build team cohesion in this type of environment, we would suggest they add a super quick check-in at the start or end of a team meeting. This can be really helpful in reconnecting people on a more human level and moves away from just talking about the team or individual tasks that need to be completed. If you are working with a manager or team who are mostly connecting via virtual meetings, talk them through the creative options they have available to them. One idea would be to have them ask everybody attending their team meeting to simply take it in turns to share one non-work-related thing they have done. Or they could ask everybody to share what plans they each have for the weekend ahead as it can spark a quick discussion and make connections through something a little more trivial.
Time to have a little fun
And encourage them to have some fun too, because anything that helps build team cohesion is important right now and some teams have been adding some more fun elements into their virtual team meetings. They have been having a quick quiz, a virtual treasure hunt and even playing visual guessing games. Some have held virtual social events and continue to run regular team-building sessions.
These ideas may not work for every team or manager you work with and may not work as well as they would if the team were face to face, but this type of thing does get people interacting in a different way that is not possible when they are just sitting at home alone. This type of activity can also bring a really fresh energy to a team meeting and helps everybody focus on something a little more trivial for just a moment. We often encourage managers to use images as part of their virtual meetings or as an ice breaker in training, because it can bring something a little more creative.
You can suggest the manager asks one person in the meeting or group to describe something only they can see or to describe something they are thinking about and then have everybody else draw what they think is being described. And using images like this has a very similar approach to the card style games we normally use within coaching and can help us explore how people are feeling or uncover any changes in their behavior.
As a professional coach, you have access to a range of virtual and printed card games that really help clients open up and express thoughts and feelings they may be struggling to articulate. A manager or team leader may also tap into this type of fun or creative activity and maybe try incorporating the use of images into their 121 sessions too. By using images, they may just help get a difficult conversation started or gain valuable insight into how somebody is feeling right now or uncover the real reason behind any changes in their behavior.
So dust off your more creative coaching skills and show how powerful images can be when a manager or team leader wants to connect and build team cohesion.
If you would like to add some fun into your coaching sessions with managers or their teams and show them how images or visual games can get the conversation started, check out this card game in our online shop:
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