We’ve heard from a lot of leaders and managers this week who are struggling with the shift to meeting virtually. They ask, “How can I keep people engaged and lighthearted when they are feeling so anxious and disconnected?” and “What can we do to make this be as fun and painless as possible?”
There are ways to help your teams stay engaged, productive and yes even have fun during this bizarre chapter we are all sharing right now. Invite people to play – use games and creativity to stay engaged with each other regularly and let a piece of that be pure fun. Maybe they show up to the virtual meeting and you spend the first 5 minutes having each person describe their week with a cliche – no other words just the cliche. Or you could:
- Wear a hat to the meeting
- Do a scavenger hunt
- Share an Improv exercise (many can be found online, they build trust and are great fun)
- Introduce your pet
- Vote on a theme song for the month, and you play a few moments of it at the end of each meeting
- Take turns sharing a cartoon clip of about a minute or so
- Have an ugly sweater (or Tee Shirt) day
You get the idea—draw upon your and their creativity to design short activities that are fun and energizing to start or end meetings. These don’t have to take long but help you keep things lighthearted. It may also be helpful at this time to share biggest frustrations, because we are all having them and sharing those with your colleagues can deepen connections and help create understanding. You can lighten your responsibility and develop team members by taking turns leading those regular meetings.
Frequent check-in meetings where we get to see and hear each other are especially important now. There will be some whose strengths and personalities require more connection to stay buoyant, and others will adapt easily to less social contact. Find ways for people to ask for what they need. Those who would like to have more contact might choose to have a second weekly call or a daily check-in at the beginning or end of each workday. This will not be a one-size-fits-all situation. Your flexibility and compassion as the team lead will go a long way toward maximizing the talent and wellbeing on your team.
Teri is the founding partner of Personal Best Partners. Reach out with questions about leadership and team development, or join us for ManagerMondays by signing up on EventBrite: https://tinyurl.com/s8e4ojt