The cups of coffee that we sipped paled in comparison to the enjoyment of spending time together. At the end of our conversation, I hugged my friend and told her, “I think about you all the time.” The truth? I do think about her all the time. But thinking about my friend doesn’t really accomplish anything. What matters is how often I actually connect with her.
Do you have people in your life that you think about regularly, but don’t connect with often enough?
If you are a leader, what about your team?
Your team is likely on your mind constantly, too. But if you don’t take the time to actually connect with them, it doesn’t really impact their lives.
And you want to impact them.
Strive to find ways to connect regularly with every person on your team.
During one season of leadership, my team of volunteers were only physically together one day a week. In addition, we were in two different locations, and there were almost 100 people on the team. I had to continually learn how to connect with them intentionally.
- Take advantage of personal encounters. I couldn’t wait for my team to come seek me out, so I sought them out the one day we were together. Some conversations would linger, some were a simple wave and smile. But I would greet every person by name and try to make them feel valued. Those brief encounters helped me recognize when someone needs more time with me, prompting me to invite them to coffee or lunch as a time to connect further.
- Take advantage of email and social media. I developed a weekly plan for connecting with my team via email and social media. The plan included a short email of encouragement or inspiration to my leadership team at the beginning of each week. (This was to help them recharge after serving with all their hearts on Sunday.) My top leaders received a recap/rally email celebrating the past week and supplying any new information needed for the upcoming week. In addition, a weekly post to our Facebook group gave me a chance to interact with the group as a whole.
- Take advantage of a personal note. There is nothing like a handwritten note – it conveys investment in your team. It tells your team that you care about what happens to them, you support them, and you want the best for them. Every single volunteer on my team would receive a handwritten birthday card. In addition,I set aside ten minutes every week to write a short note of encouragement to three people – I still keep a running list of recipients so I can ensure my whole team gets one.
- Take advantage of short videos. Occasionally the spoken word is stronger than the written word. Our ministry made a series of 30 second videos explaining our core values awhile back. They were made on an iPhone and then texted to our volunteers. It was a quick way to help our teams remember why they do what they do. Videos are also a great way to convey an exciting announcement, or a deep appreciation.
Every leader spends time thinking about their team, but not every leader is intentional about connecting with their team. Maybe you don’t lead a team yet, but you know you spend too much time thinking about relationships without actually developing them.
What are some ways that you can begin connecting with others this week?
The more you invest in connecting with your team, the greater the payoff.