You may be familiar with leaders who are always dumping a pile of work on their team, without attempting to establish any sort of professional relationship with them. For these leaders, it’s all about work, work, and work, with no human aspect involved in their approach—to the extent that you may find yourself thinking: do they even have a life outside work? Because you certainly can’t imagine it!
Trust us, you don’t want to come across as that boss.
And for that, you have to work on building a bond with your team.
How can you do that?
Read on for some super-helpful tips.
1. Be approachable
This might sound very obvious, but you’d be surprised at the difference that being approachable makes. Giving off the aura of being a ‘scary’ boss isn’t really going to work to your benefit. And hey, it’s not cool either. Tell your team that you have an open-door policy. And don’t just tell them, but make sure that your actions match your words. Your team members should feel comfortable in walking up to you at any point, without thinking twice.
2. Know your team
Make an effort to interact with your team members—doesn’t necessarily have to be on work-related topics. Make sure you know your team. No, we don’t mean just knowing their names and designations. Talk to them. Get to know about their passions and interests outside work. Make this a priority in your project management. This will help you in seeing them as individual people, rather than as a ‘team’, which will consequently help you in developing a stronger bond with each team member.
3. Engage in games and activities
Everyone needs a break from time to time, while working. You can optimize this time to strengthen your bond with your project management team. Challenge your employees to a quick round of Scrabble, Monopoly, Jenga… or any game for that matter. Don’t have a board game at hand? Don’t worry—everyone loves playing Charades and Telephone!
4. Off-site trips
Being cooped up in the office all day long can get, well, boring. Why not take out your team elsewhere for a short time? Perhaps you can go out to grab some ice-cream, go for a picnic in a nearby park when the weather’s nice, or treat your team to a box of pizza during lunch break! Make sure to include all team members so that no one feels left out. Also, ask for suggestions from your team about what they’d like to do, or where they would want to go.
5. Movie nights
I know what you’re thinking: who’d want to stay at the office overtime after a long, tiring day of work? However, arranging movie nights (with some yummy cheesy pepperoni pizza, salted buttery popcorn, or loaded nachos and spicy salsa!) can be a great way to get your team members to bond with each other. These nights can be arranged on a monthly basis, or could be even more spaced out. Don’t forget to curate a list of possible movies to watch after gathering recommendations from your team members!
6. Don’t play favourites
Just don’t. Employees can tell when you’re clearly prioritizing another coworker over them. Make everyone feel equal. Don’t pick and choose who to call in for meetings. Don’t approach only certain people to get their feedback or suggestions on a particular project—especially when their fellow coworkers are sitting right there. Don’t plan off-site trips with specific people only.
7. Coffee chats
Bonding activities don’t have to be costly. Employees are likely to feel more strongly about being included, rather than where they are being taken or what they are being fed. Even if you sit down with a group, with a mug of coffee or tea, that will do the trick. It’s the thought that counts!
What’s bonding without exercising the ability to empathize? If a team member seems to be in a low mood, reach out to them. Ask them what’s wrong. Approach them with sensitivity. Show empathy and try to understand their position, even if you can’t fully relate to their situation. Looking out for your team members’ mental health is a very important factor—one that should, ideally, take precedence over all other aspects.
Empathy and perspective—both are very important!
9. Start a tradition!
This is a fantastic way to strengthen team bonding. There are so many groups that have traditions—such as college sororities, clubs and societies, sports clubs, and on. Why not start your own team traditions? Here are a few suggestions:
- Donuts (on the house!) every Wednesday… to counter the mid-week blues.
- Wearing small badges or pins (custom designed) on your sleeves… to show team spirit.
- Seasonal or yearly trips… to get a breath of fresh air.
- Learning a secret language or secret handshake… for whatever reason you may.
And the list goes on!
10. Celebrate holidays together
Sure, everyone likes to spend holidays and special events with their families and friends, but why not have a mini celebration with your coworkers too? You can either do this on the office premises, or off-site. All team members can contribute towards making this occasion into a memorable, fun one.
Developing a strong team bond may not seem like a huge deal, but it actually does go a long way. When employees feel that they are being appreciated, included, and valued, they would be likely to work harder and with more enthusiasm.