Especially for a creative professional, the quality of relationships in the workplace goes hand in hand with the quality of their work. When an employee feels undervalued, lost, ignored, or misunderstood, their art suffers. Relational hangups are the proverbial roadblocks to creative thinking.
As a leader, boss, or owner, the responsibility falls on you to develop stronger relationships amongst your team. This can weigh heavily, especially if the relational divide has deepened with the passing of time. Unless you have a degree in human resource management and communication, you’re probably ready for some tools to take your team to the next level.
First step, Identify Your Team.
Create a list of each person on your team. Start with their job description, continue with their skills (as there may be more skills than what they already do for you), add in their long term professional goals, their strengths (as found in Strengths Finder 2.0 , areas they struggle (with their work and co-workers), and finish with a few of their favorite things to do in their personal time.
Creating a list like this can be time consuming. It is common that most managers of people don’t know the answers to these questions without some investigating. But rest assured, the work will be worth it.
Along with asking each of your team for their answers, you may find that you’ve never encouraged your team to participate in the Strengths Finder 2.0 program. We will forever recommend using this tool to help your teams discover their strengths, why they are the way they are, how to develop and foster those strengths, how to avoid the negative side of each strength, and how to best communicate with others according to their strengths.
Next step, Implement Your List.
Naturally, using Strengths Finder 2.0 as a type of team building exercise will help everyone to get to know each other better. It can challenge the existing team dynamic within an office while simultaneously laying the foundation for a stronger, more connected team. You’ll find projects to be completed with increased efficiency, quality, and each of your team will feel more fulfilled about the work they’re contributing than ever before.
The key is to help each member of your team find their perfect fit within their job description. You may find that it’s time to adjust a specific employee’s scope of work. Perhaps you need to hire a support person because your team is operating at max capacity. Maybe one of your people’s long term professional goals doesn’t align with the goals of your company/business—this can mean it’s time to make an adjustment to their position or allow them the space to transition elsewhere.
Ongoing steps, Listen to Your Team.
In order to maintain a healthy team dynamic within your work environment, you need to listen—people’s interests and goals change, and it is up to you to keep up with those changes. Building your own individual relationships with your team can help you understand more of what each of them bring to the table. Take someone out for a quick coffee run, invite someone to join you for lunch, take a moment out of your busy schedule to ask them about their day, how they are fitting within the team, how they are feeling about an existing project, etc.
Recognizing that your team is made up of humans that survive on healthy, human interaction is the beginning of creating a strong team. Each of these things: emotions, beliefs, goals, dreams, etc. are the lifeblood to art. Without an environment that allows room for these things, you will find an extremely high turnover rate, poorly done work, a divisive team, and empty people. Remember, creativity flourishes with collaboration.
Note: This article was not sponsored by Strengths Finder 2.0 and is in no way connected with the author, Tom Rath. We simply love this tool and will continue to encourage business leaders to take advantage of it’s unique ability to provide clarity and direction.