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Note: this is a series of weekly tips to build a functional, collaborative, aligned team.

Tip: Create a Team Engagement Challenge

This tip is for each of your team members. One of the common problems on teams, especially virtual teams, is feeling isolated and disconnected from the rest of the team and organization. Often, the expectation to create engagement falls on the leader. While it is certainly true that it is important for leaders to do 1:1’s and create engagement with the members of their team, engagement is everyone’s responsibility.

This tip is to create a team engagement challenge for every team member to do a 15 to 30 minute 1:1 with every other team member (assuming you have a reasonable team size). Depending on the size of your team, you could do this over the course of a week, two weeks, or even a month. The purpose is to get to know each other, create connection between team members, and reduce the feeling of isolation.

I know what you’re thinking: we are so busy right now. I get it. But if you are always busy and never create engagement, there is going to be an impact on your team health, morale, retention, and productivity. Schedule it on the team calendar for a time that fits with the team rhythm.

Give your team a set of prompts to share with each other. A good resource for this is The Long Distance Teammate by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel. They provide some good ideas to share:

  • Just make conversation to learn more about each other such as favorite hobbies, what they do in their spare time, where they grew up, a favorite vacation spot, etc. You may keep it simple and start with this.

  • What each of you are working on.

  • A challenge you each are experiencing.

  • A win from the last couple of weeks.

There are many possibilities on what to share. The key is to be present, listen, and care about our teammates. It doesn’t have to take long, it just takes a little intention.

At the end of the challenge have a team celebration.

This doesn’t take any preparation and is a simple way to create engagement on the team and reduce the sense of isolation and disconnection.

Go build a functional, collaborative, aligned team!