What do you do to show you care for your team?
After nearly 36 years of marriage (to the same person!) I feel we must be doing something right. I’m sure like most married couples, we don’t declare our undying love every day of the week, but we still know we’re loved and cared for.
Just like in a successful marriage, unless your team feel loved and that you care about them they are unlikely to care much about you. Or your business or your customers.
And when you don’t see your team from one week to the next it’s easy for them to feel neglected, uncared for or unloved.
As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, instead of a dozen red roses, here are a dozen ideas to borrow from a successful marriage to show some love and show you care for your team.
1. Something in common
It can be tricky maintaining a relationship when you’ve got nothing in common.
In the workplace the one thing you can have in common is a shared purpose; something you really care about, which energises and excites you, something your team care about too.
When you and your team have clearly defined purpose, it connects you, provides structure and shared goals.
Bear this in mind when recruiting, as if this isn’t important to them you’ll end up with a mismatch.
2. Know what’s important
Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you but can mean a lot for others. Understanding what these are means we can attend to these things, even if they’re not important to us.
Take time to talk to your team members to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals.
Get people talking about an accolade or something (or someone) they’re are proud of. Just by getting them talking about these make people feel good as well as helping to get an insight into what’s really important to them.
3. Be nice to one another
We all have our off days, but behaviour breeds behaviour so in any relationship it’s easy to let that rub off on others.
So, however you’re feeling, a sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.
Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show you, their colleagues and customers.
4. Pay attention
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it’s usually easy to sense when something is wrong.
Keep your ears and eyes open so you can spot when things are wrong amongst your team. Provide support when it’s needed and be receptive to when it’s required.
Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. Be brave; we don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.
Show you value their opinion; ask their advice next time you’re stumped for an answer. Consult with your team on decisions that affect them; listen to their concerns or ideas.
6. Show your appreciation
One of the simplest ways of showing we care is to say thank you.
Failing to give a simple please when asking for something or a thank you when it’s delivered soon gets noted, leaving people feeling unappreciated.
Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to know the contribution counts and sometimes just a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day reminds them.
Be specific; a thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising.
7. Stay connected
When you’re away from a loved one you probably call, text or do something to let them know you’re ok and thinking of them.
Whether furloughed, working from home or in the business, ensure you keep your team connected – both to you, and each other.
Maintain a routine for daily check-ins, when everyone knows they can connect with everyone else (Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams* will allow you to do this). Stick to a schedule or same time each day, so everyone can plan
Be open, honest and factual. Focus on what you can do for them rather than dwelling on what you can’t do.
Whilst sharing interests help bring people together, having time away from each other and some different interests allows you some space.
Draw the line between work and family life. Particularly if people live in.
What flexibility do they have around the hours they work to fit in with others at home – partners, children or other dependents.
Play to people’s strengths and demonstrate your trust by delegating control and ownership, which creates a sense of pride
9. Celebrate the good times
Anyone in a relationship who’s ever forgotten a special anniversary knows how much impact that can have.
It’s just as important with your team. Recognise and celebrate team members’ successes and special occasions; be they workplace achievements, personal milestones, or proud moments – in, or out of work.
10. Keep your commitments
Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on suggests a lack of respect.
If you ever do let someone down, own up and apologise. It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it.
11. Have some fun
Any relationship can get stale after a while.
Keep the team spirit alive, and share some fun and positive achievements, stories or anecdotes.
Set up some fun team activities to bring people together, such as virtual horse racing, a magician, or just a simple catch up over a coffee
Knowing you can trust in one another is a key component of a strong relationship.
Being open and honest with your team is just as important. Even when that involves delivering bad news, don’t fluff it up – let people know where they stand.
Many a conflict is caused when there is a lack of, conflicting or confusing communication. Be consistent in your approach, in your messages and in your expectations.
Demonstrate your trust in your team, and help them build trust in you through personal integrity and by being loyal to them.
This list of ways to show you love and care for your team is by no means exhaustive, but they’ll go a long way to show others you care about them, so they’ll care about you.
And in this context – care about your business and your customers.
If you only do one thing:
Every offer of support counts. Let people know you’re there for them, even if the offer never gets taken up. You don’t want to be checking in on people every 5 minutes, but it’s always reassuring to know that you’re there to support them when it’s needed – whether that be work-related or a personal issue.
Related article: Show you love your customers
Related video: Your employee journey