Now more than ever, it’s so important to make sure that your team stays connected. Ultimately, every team is made up of people and you can’t have a successful team without bringing that human element to the conversation to ensure your team feels supported. As the CEO of Elevate My Brand, it’s my job to check in on my team and make sure they have everything they need to be successful during these difficult times. Here are 5 tips to help put your relationship with your team front and center.
1. Open the conversation.
As the saying goes, you won’t know unless you ask. It’s up to you, as a leader, to start that dialogue and let your team know that they are encouraged to share their feelings during difficult times. At Elevate My Brand, we start our Monday Zoom calls with something I like to call “The Feels.” During this time, we each go around and share how we’re feeling with everything going on. Sometimes the team is doing great, but other times, some people are barely hanging on — and that’s okay. Talking about our feelings openly and honestly allows us to be human and offer love and support to each other.
2. Host one-on-ones.
Talking openly with your team is great, but if you really want to show your employees you care, make time to check in on each of them one-on-one. Sometimes in a group setting, people aren't going to show up and tell you what's wrong or feel comfortable asking for what they need. I try to schedule a one-on-one Zoom lunch with every single person on my team at least once a month so that I can show up and be the best leader that I can for them. Meeting with your team members one-on-one is a way to give them the space that they need to ask what I can do to support them.
3. Schedule play time.
Not every Zoom meeting needs to be serious. Everyone could use some time to kick back and relax with a cocktail in hand. Schedule some time to play with your team, whether that be a virtual happy hour or game time. We’ve used the app Houseparty to play trivia and drawing games. Just because we can’t all be together in the office doesn’t mean we should skip out on playtime. Sometimes all it takes to change the vibe is letting out that inner child.
4. Send a little something.
Everybody loves receiving a surprise gift in the mail. To put a smile on my team's face, sometimes I will send a little something out of the blue, whether that’s a silly keychain or a candy piñata. Doing little things like this shows my team that I appreciate them, not only on a professional level, but on a personal level as well.
5. Say thank you.
This may seem obvious, but perhaps it’s the most important. Don’t forget to say thank you to each and every one of your team members. We are all working under extreme circumstances and a thank you here and there can go a long way in showing your team that they’re appreciated. Make sure it’s genuine and impassioned. Say it like you mean it, because you really should.
My team hopefully knows that they have been helping me work through this tough time as much as I believe I have helped them. It’s about the power of collective support. No one is their own mountain so make sure you’re reaching out, connecting with your team and telling them it’s ok to have crazy emotions because we’re all going through it together. The one unique thing about this new work experience is that it has created an even playing field so make sure you’re watering, tending and cultivating yours.
Laurel is the CEO and Founder of award-winning, Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency Elevate My Brand. Laurel’s gift is connecting with people and their stories. After all, companies are made up of people, and stories are just narratives that are the foundation of great marketing. Laurel’s energy has been the driving force behind the agency’s growth since it launched in 2009. Her awards include the 2017 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award; 2016 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Company; Los Angeles Business Journal 2016 Women In Business Award; and more.