New Team Moves-Where are you?
Imagine yourself learning new dance steps or a new yoga move…it’s awkward at first and you must consciously think about what you’re doing. Then at some point – Click! – your body takes over and you can just do it. With practice the moves become muscle memory.
For many people, learning to do new team “moves” has included lots of new, unfamiliar steps like working remotely. Add to the mix the extreme uncertainty of COVID-19 and the disruption of routines (kids, travel, work, how we connect) and most of us are far from “muscle memory.” Life takes more conscious effort to manage the unfamiliar and the stress.
A positive aspect of our current environment is that it has kicked us off automatic pilot. It is certainly less comfortable and more stressful – but shake-ups provide the opportunity to become more aware of our “auto-pilot” behaviors and triggers. Being in remote environments helps us to take less for granted and pay attention more, making it easier to notice what assumptions we might be making or “stories” we tell ourselves.
But there’s a BIG downside if you aren’t staying connected. Anyone else notice how easy it is to get stuck in a negative mind talk when you are feeling scared and/or isolated? Many articles and researchers are reminding leaders that it’s more important now than ever to communicate with their teams, show caring, and stay connected – especially with remote workers. Why? Because people tend to “fill in the blanks” when there is inadequate communication – and they usually fill them in with the most negative possibilities.
What to do? Be proactive in staying connected and learning. Practice new team moves by making communication a priority. Hopefully most teams have strong leaders who are practicing their new moves. But if not, take charge. Reach out to colleagues and friends. Join association happy hours or virtual networking events. Take advantage of the many resources available out there – look at LinkedIn alone. There are numerous articles, free and low-cost learning events and coaching offerings. Check out the training on Zoom or other virtual platforms to build your proficiency and confidence. Consciously practice new moves and strengthen those muscles.
Aside from learning about yourself and your own mindset, practicing new team moves means being able to step outside yourself and empathize with how others may feel. Do you check out your assumptions and assertions and ask for feedback?
As you become more in-tune to what’s going on around you, you will enhance your ability to effectively manage relationships – even those crazy-making ones at work.
Many of us have discovered through various behavioral or communication style assessments and other tools that not everyone thinks the same way we do!
Get curious about team differences – generational, cultural, racial, social – and you can connect, build trust, listen, and relate more effectively while still being authentic. Less “right and wrong” thinking and more “just different” is quite helpful on this journey of practicing effective team moves.
All this work of on self and social awareness and enhancing your ability to manage team relationships more effectively – when does it end? Never. It’s a process of building the muscles of awareness of yourself and others, of learning to flex and stretch to meet others where they are, while at the same time honoring your authenticity and being true to your own values. However, with lots of practice you will notice more and more muscle memory kicking in, and the moves get easier.
Take advantage of an opportunity to strengthen your new team moves! Join me for a free webinar “Building Cohesive Teams” on Friday May 22nd at Noon CST.
All those who complete the webinar will be given a complementary Five Behaviors Personal Development Profile, compliments of Jill Hickman Companies, and a complementary coaching session with Amy Hart, an Authorized Partner of Jill Hickman Companies. One per company.