Why do leaders struggle to create collaborative work environments where team members step up and do whatever it takes to create remarkable results?
Is it because they haven’t set a vision that is compelling enough? Maybe.
Is it because they haven’t counseled their team enough about the importance of working together, despite the weekly—no daily—reminders? Probably not.
Is it because the team hasn’t decided on a shared set of values? I doubt it.
The biggest reason leaders struggle to rally a team is less about what they’re doing and more about what they’re allowing.
While enjoying a delicious scoop of ice cream at my favorite shop in Baltimore, MD (The Charmery), I listened to Lauren, a recently minted lawyer, share about Waffle Wednesdays, a tradition she started at the small district court where she works.
“I love to bake,” she said, as she went into great deal about the pumpkin waffles she made in November, and then the stuffing waffles with cranberry sauce and gravy she made in December.
“What’s your address?” I asked, “I’m coming over for breakfast!”
A smile graced her face as she shared about how nice it is that the judge lets her bake the most exquisite breakfast for the entire team once a month. “He sits there with us for a full hour as we all get to have fun and enjoy non-work related conversations,” Lauren shared.
“Let you?” I thought, as I wondered how many leaders miss out on the cohesion that’s created from these kinds of joyful experiences.
They’re so busy preaching teamwork instead of allowing their team’s natural interests and passions to strengthen the kinds of connections that bolster results and benefit everyone.
Of course, it’s the connection that makes work easier and more enjoyable. It’s the connection that breeds compassion and encourages team members to pick up the slack when someone is struggling. It’s also the connection that encourages colleagues to challenge each other to dream bigger and act braver, netting better results for everyone involved.
As you begin thinking about how to get your team working more collaboratively throughout 2017, consider how to allow non-work related passions and interests to forge depth in connection.
Here’s to your greatness,