As an Administrator, getting your team to “feel” like a team may be easier said than done. Sure you have corporate gatherings and an open door policy, but do you really know the people you’re working with every day? Do they know why they communicate the way they do? Are they comfortable with sharing what is most important to them, and are they able to communicate their tragedies and triumphs with each other? See, “who we are”is often dominated by the experiences we go through.
Time and time again, as a Communication Specialist and Corporate Trainer, I have seen professionals come out of their shell and discuss things that most people never knew. Chances are there are people on your team that have struggled or are struggling with the death of a loved one, a divorce, health issues, abuse, poverty, etc. and I’ll tell you, people are willing to revealing family “secrets” that have affected their entire life and the way they communicate, if you let them. When conducting seminars like this, I’ve heard professionals say: “This is this best course I’ve ever taken”; “I can’t believe we are getting paid to sit here and talk like this”; “Now that I know they’re dealing with this, I will understand them much better and not take things so personally”; and “This is so therapeutic!”.
It’s important to note, the person facilitating this discussion must set the tone. If they are open and honest about what they have experienced, how it felt and how they overcame or are overcoming the struggles, then the rest of the group will follow their lead. Asking participants if they mind if you sit down with them (rather than standing over them, especially if it’s a small room) will immediately start to break the ice.
Once you have personally answered the two questions below in front of the group, you may start with a participant on one side of the room and work your way around. Even those considered “hard to crack” will reveal a side few have ever seen with the right facilitator. And don’t be surprise if you see tissues being passed around the room! Remember, you are asking people to reveal their deepest struggles and most intimate wishes for the greater good. This will absolutely bring your team closer by allowing them to understand and be understood. They will automatically have more respect for one another and it will help heal the group in more ways than you ever thought possible. Now…
2 Questions that can transform your team:
1.) What is the hardest thing you’ve overcome in your life? Yes, I know, it’s a tough question… yet freedom, in many ways, can be found in this bold truth and can transform our understanding about ourselves, our families, those we serve and each other. The facilitator will want to ask questions like, “how did that feel?”, “how did that effect you?”, “how did you overcome that situation?”. Asking open ended questions (what, how, when, why) will help the individual express their feelings and help everyone understand the struggles and strength of each team member.
2.) What would you do with $1 Million? … Tax-free, of course! This question usually gets
people happy. When folks start thinking about money with no boundaries, they start revealing their ideal life! While the answers to this question do vary, it’s common for people to want to live debt-free, take care of their family and enjoy the small things like traveling or fishing; most people say the causes they would give to and why. The answer to this question usually, as a facilitator, makes me understand that most things we want are eventually within reach whether we have $1 Million or not.
Talk about inspirational! You want boost your team’s communication and success? Give them the time and freedom to express who they really are. By asking intimate questions and truly listening is quite possibly the best therapy you could ever give your team.
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Amy O'Pry Massey
Leadership and Communication Coach
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