This is the seventh installment in our High-Impact Team Series. If you would like to read all installments of the series, click here.
As a leader, you are nearly 70% responsible for how your team members feel and behave on a daily basis. Start by scheduling 20 to 30-minute, weekly one-on-one meetings — or "Wooo sessions" — with each of your team members. The Wooo is probably the most important quadrant ii investment (important, not urgent) you can make to engage your team and actually expand your time to reach your goals.
Why Does Your Team Need to Be Engaged?
They are committed to your success.
They consistently use discretionary effort in their work.
They feel confident, secure, supported, motivated, and energized.
And Gallup's studies of millions of employees over 20 years continue to confirm they deliver greater customer satisfaction, higher profitability and productivity, and higher-quality work.
Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward. — Gallup
Unfortunately, Gallup also finds that only about a third of employees will strongly agree that they can “…talk with my manager about non-work-related issues” and “…approach my manager with any type of question” — statements that are highly correlated with employee engagement. But you can get there with a safe and informal Wooo session.
What Should You Cover in a Wooo Session?
Offer coaching, support, and resources. Some energetic and driven people find it hard to ask for help, subconsciously fearing it might label them as weak or incompetent. In the Wooo session, you can help unearth obstacles and problems so your team members can make progress. Prime the pump by offering: “What can I do to help you do your job better?,” or even a simple, “How are things going?”
Ensure a 360° feedback loop. Receiving regular feedback helps team members feel their work is meaningful — a critical component of team engagement. With a Wooo session, improvements in work and expectations are discussed and achieved throughout the year, instead of once or twice during reviews. Most importantly, make your Wooo session a two-way channel. Having a “take-charge” attitude may give your team the wrong impression. I remember the first time I was told I was intimidating — I was shocked! I was just focused on next steps. Shed that commanding presence by asking your team members, “What is working well between us? Is there something I can do to improve how I communicate or work with you?”
Make it safe for a sensitive discussion. A change in a team member’s mood or behavior may indicate a serious issue in their personal life. They might not feel comfortable bringing it to your attention. Let them know you’ve noticed the change and offer, “What’s going on? What can I do to help?”
Conserve each other’s productivity. When you know you’ve got a Wooo session coming, you can save non-urgent questions, clarifications, and input for that meeting, rather than interrupting each other’s work. You'll find this improves your own and your team's productivity.
In your Wooo session, you can knock out at least four of Gallup's top 12 employee engagement indicators:
Q2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
Q5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Q6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
Get your these meetings on the calendar now. The first few meetings may feel a bit awkward. But you’ll both loosen up quickly and soon wonder how you operated without Wooo sessions before now.
This kind of communication doesn’t come naturally to many of us. Does this kind of meeting seem reasonable to you? Are you doing something similar that works well? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Source: The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes, 2016 Q12® Meta-Analysis: Ninth Edition, page 9. To use Gallup’s Q12 survey, click here.