‘Twas a week before Christmas
When all through the team
Every creature was stirring
Five via live stream.
Work products were finished
By the employees with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there.
The colleagues were dressed
In their finest new threads
Office parties and merriment
Danced in their heads.
The streets of DC freezing
Enough to wear caps
All of us hoping
For some time to take naps.
When suddenly my email
Ping and ponged with a clatter
I sprang to my standing desk
To see what was the matter.
A problem at your workplace
So I flew like a flash
Together we talked
A colleague had been brash.
Our talking revealed
Mean words fallen like snow
Tainting relationships and productivity
Above and below.
When what to my wondering eyes
An enlightened and humble leader
Oh what a dear!
With kindness and generosity
So lively and quick
I knew in a moment
Some help from St. Nick!
More rapid than eagles
Her words and actions they came
And she praised and appreciated
As she called them by name.
Now Work Ethic! Now Kindness!
Now Humor and Vixen!
On Competence! On Collaboration!
On Caring and Blixem!
To the top of the skyscrapers
And in every company hall
Spread accountability, responsibility
Appreciation to all.
She sprang to her Uber
And gave her team a big whistle
But I heard her exclaim
As she rode out of sight
“Happy Christmas to all
And to all a good night!”
That’s twice this month I’ve been able to help an already highly functional team hone their interdependence, communication, and appreciation.
And it wasn’t only work. Between these two teams, I have eaten lobster, lost at putt-putt golf, driven in the Indy 500 via video, and bowled.
No, these aren’t the rewards some companies offer top earners–trips to the Caribbean, concerts in Times Square–but they’re fun, and they strengthen. team. Believe it or not, in each group at least one person had never bowled, or played putt-putt. Yet, cheered on by teammates, each one was blessed with beginner’s luck and had a wonderful time.
As I left, I chatted with the manager of another department about her tennis game. She told me that she’s working with a new coach. “But you already play so well,” I said. “And I know you practice almost every day.”
“Oh, I do pretty well,” she said.
Then she asked me about my day. After I described it (in glowing terms), she said, “I wish my team had the time and budget to blow a day playing. We don’t even have time to talk to one another.”
I couldn’t help wondering if her department was stuck.
When was the last time your team had a day away from work, or a chance to spend an hour playing a game together?
Is your team stuck?
Good Observation Skills Can Give Us Valuable Information beyond What Is Being Said
We spend much of our lives in various kinds of groups, but many of us seldom take the time to observe, discuss, and try to understand what is happening within them.
The ability to evaluate group behavior will help us become more effective group members and facilitators.
When we observe what the group is talking about (topic), we are focusing on the content, or on the task at hand. Most discussions in groups emphasize content. “Is that topic covered in the report?” “Who is supposed to introduce that topic?” “When will we need those materials?”
Choosing meeting topics, analyzing information, and creating project schedules are all examples of content or task issues.
When we observe how a group is working together (interactions), we are focusing on the group process, or maintenance. One of the easiest aspects to observe is the pattern of communication.
Who talks? For how long? How often? Whom do people look at when they talk? Who talks to whom? Who interrupts whom?
…Other kinds of group process observations may include: How are decisions made? How are leaders chosen? How are group members interacting with one another?
The kinds of observations we make give us clues to other important things that may be going on in a meeting, such as who leads whom or who influences whom.
What interesting interactions and patterns have you noticed when you’ve observed in this way?