Good afternoon, everyone, or good morning to those of you on the West Coast. Thank you for joining us today for the first installment in the Dear Oaks EAP Services 2020 Leadership Certificate Webinar Series.

Today's topic, of course, is how to build a strong team. For those of you that have taken part in the series in the past, I think this is the fourth year that we've held this series or offered this series. Those of you that attend all four topics-- it's a quarterly series, the next one will be in April, and then we'll have one in July, and another one in October-- those of you that attend all four webinars either live or online, you can-- we record all of them, so if you miss the live presentation, you can still attend on demand and we're able to track that as well.

But those of you that attend all four of the topics this year, after today's topic, we have How to Become a More Effective Manager coming up in April, Presentation Skills for Supervisors coming up in July, and Emotional Intelligence for Supervisors coming up in October, you'll receive-- at the end of the year, you'll receive the 2020 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate.

And so looking forward to having a number of you receive that award at the end of the year. We've actually had several thousand. We've actually had several thousand people attend recently, and attend this series over the last three years and receive the leadership certificate, so I'm glad that many of you are going to get a chance to do that again this year.

All right, so before we get started, I also want to remind you that during these webinars, participants are in listen only mode, which means, of course, you won't be able to audibly ask questions. But your questions are important to us, and so if you have any questions anytime during the presentation, feel free to type them into the question box in GoToWebinar software. At the end of that the content portion of the presentation, which will last approximately 30 minutes, give or take, we'll open it up for questions and then we'll have plenty of time to read questions.

And basically, your questions will be confidential. What I mean by that is I won't be reading the name of any of the individuals who typed in the question. So I'll just be reading the questions aloud and answering as many as we have time for to the best of my ability for everyone's benefit, so I look forward to that Q&A session here coming up.

All right, folks, let's go ahead and get started. One more quick question, I want to make sure that our technology is working for us. If you can see the slides and hear my voice clearly, would you please locate the Raise Hand icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and GoToWebinar software, and again, if the technology's working for you, you can hear my voice clearly and see the slides clearly, would you please click on the Raise Hand icon now?

All right, thank you, folks, looks like we're good to go technology-wise. All right. So let's start talking about the benefits of teambuilding. Now interestingly, folks, very few leaders and supervisors-- there's certainly been a lot of-- there's been a lot of literature written and discussed, and there's a lot of training that takes part in our country around leadership and management skills that focus on teambuilding, right? The importance of building a strong team that synergizes well together, that's well-bonded, that demonstrates good teamwork, that's highly productive, works very well together.

But unfortunately, the research also indicates that there's not a lot of formal teambuilding programs in place on teams today. And so this is an area that's really, really important. So I want to take a moment to talk about the benefits of having them, more of an intentional or a formal teambuilding approach.

So first and foremost, we need to recognize that when you feel a strong sense of team, more than anything else, if you feel like you belong to a work family-- many of us have heard that term, right? Is that I feel like I have my second family at work, or when you're on one of those teams that gets along really well together where people really have each other's back, where they care about each other, they really have gotten to know each other. And it doesn't mean that they're necessarily best friends outside of work, but at work, they really bond, they really care about each other.

The research is unbelievable. Where there's a work family and where there's a sense of belonging, the research shows that these kinds of teams have productivity that's 70% higher than the average team. That's remarkable. Think about that. 70% higher productivity from teams that are really well-connected, well-bonded, truly care about each other, and enjoy working together.

And so there's obviously several things that have to happen to create a team like that, to create a team environment like that. And so first and foremost, I want us to be thinking about-- some of you might remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs from back in school. Albert Maslow is a researcher. Of course, he was talking about what are the things that are common to most people that cross cultural boundaries and personality boundaries and gender boundaries, generational boundaries? Things that-- what motivates people intrinsically that's pretty common among human beings?

One of them is the need for a sense of belonging. All of us need that. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, whether you're a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, whether you're a man or a woman, I mean, folks, all of us have a need, I think you'd all agree, to belong. That's important. If we go to work and we don't feel like we belong, we don't feel like we're appreciated, we don't feel welcome, we don't feel like we have a place and that we don't belong, we're not going to be as motivated to do our best work.

And so this is important. That's why-- and we hear a lot of conversation nowadays about morale and about culture. This is what we're talking about. That when you have a-- when a leader takes the time to build a strong, well-bonded, connected team that likes each other, cares about each other, gets to know each other, and really enjoys doing work together, the culture is going to be better, and another word for culture would be the energy, right? The environment that's going that's going on in that department. And people want to come to work, they want to see each other, they enjoy helping each other. They enjoy being part of something.

And so when that happens, again, you're going to have remarkable-- not only will morale be better and people be more motivated, but they're going to be a lot more productive, they're going to want to work for each other. But it takes some work to build a team like that. And so going to talk about some steps today that all of us could take as leaders or managers to create a more synergistic team that really cares about each other and has a positive culture where people want to come to work every week and do their best work.

And so, of course, obviously other benefits. Teams that communicate and work well together are going to get along better, right? And when that happens, there's going to be less stress and less conflict. And so there's a lot of benefits to really focusing more on teambuilding.

But what are the barriers, right? I mean, obviously why don't teams just show up at work and get along together? What keeps teams from bonding? What keeps a team environment from becoming really positive where people feel like they're a part of a family and that they belong, that they're welcome? So let's think about this.

Human nature is one thing, OK? I think we need to recognize that oftentimes, if you put a bunch of people-- let's take, for the sake of argument, say, let's take a team of five people. Let's say that you're a manager and you're managing a team of five people and you've just hired three new people this year, you had a couple of people have been there for a while, now you've got five people together with different backgrounds, they might have cultural differences, they might be from different generations, they'll certainly be different personality styles and types, different communication approaches.

And if there's no formal or intentional focus on working well together, what's going to happen is human nature is going to take over and people will form cliques. So you'll get a couple of people on a team that natural will like each other. They have a lot in common, they start going to lunch together, they friend each other on Facebook, and all of a sudden, you've got those couple of people, two or three people hanging out together.

But then you'll have a couple of others that won't necessarily be welcomed by that clique or by that subgroup. And when that happens, you get some dynamics in the group that can be uncomfortable, where you get some people on the team going out to lunch together and others aren't invited, which can be uncomfortable for those that are feeling rejected or aren't included. You can have some interpersonal differences getting in the way, like sometimes it can be cultural differences or language barriers that can keep people from bonding together. Sometimes it's because they come from different generations, and so they're not on the same page in terms of the way they think or how they approach things.

Sometimes it's just personality. You get some introverted people working with some extroverted people, and there's some discomfort, people aren't naturally clicking well together. We've all heard those terms personality-- there's personality conflicts or personality differences, right? That happens when a couple of people, for whatever reason, just don't naturally click.

But what I want you to see is if a supervisor's intentional at creating a positive team environment, you can you can break down some of those barriers. Again, I'm not talking about people-- taking those five different diverse people and having them become BFFs, right? And hanging out together every weekend outside of work, no, not at all. But what I am talking about is having a supervisor creating an environment where people truly get to know each other, have common goals, get on the same page, have each other's backs, and truly enjoy working together. You can do that with some intentional focus, and that's what today's conversation's about. And so we got to make sure we've got a focus on teambuilding. Because again, human beings are not naturally going to bond together, differences will keep them apart.

It's even more important to focus on this nowadays, most of you would agree, because of the use of technology that's so prevalent in our world today. A lot of people aren't spending as much face-to-face time as they once did. There's an awful lot of virtual communication, right? And so it's harder to bond virtually, and so because of that-- I mean, there's been a lot of-- I mean, I subscribe to a blog that talks about connectivity in the workplace, and they're talking about people feel more isolated now in the 21st century than ever before in the workplace, that there's a lot of people, even though they're sitting in a cubicle that's in close proximity to five or six or seven or eight other people, they feel disconnected. They don't feel bonded.

And some of it's because people are on their devices, people are-- they're not spending as much face time together as people once did. And so we need to be thinking about that as well. And you be thinking about creating an environment as a leader that gives people opportunities to bond together and to connect together.

In addition, there's people's priorities. Some people, when they come to work, are very focused on task. And that's OK, right? I mean, it is work and we need to get things done, but others come to work wanting connection. They're looking for-- getting some social needs met. And I'm not talking about sitting around gossiping or sitting around just doing small talk all day, I'm just talking about connecting with others. And so a team's not going to bond as well if they're too task-focused and not focused enough on connecting with each other. And then, of course, if people are insensitive to those interpersonal differences, that's going to make things more challenging.

And then, of course, when people are on deadline, or they're stressed out, or maybe they're not managing their emotions very well during a difficult time in the office or when the team is going through some changes or whatever, when people aren't managing their emotions, well, that can create-- people become impatient with each other and that can cause people to overreact when they when they interact, and that can cause hard feelings, right? And you can have difficult conversations that don't get resolved or conflict that doesn't get resolved, and those kinds of resentments can build up in the workplace and get in the way of team synergy and a positive team culture.

So let's talk about some practical ways that a supervisor-- I'd like each of you to come off of this conversation today with two or three things you could do more intentionally on a regular basis to better bond your team together and create more of a work family, more of a-- if that's not a comfortable term, create more of a positive, connected, more comfortable workplace culture for your team.

We want people to want to come to work. We want them to feel so connected with each other-- think about this, the number two reason people leave organizations is that they don't like who they work with. That could be their supervisor, it could be their colleagues. The number one reason they leave is because they're not growing. But the number two reason-- and it's a close second-- the number two reason people leave is because they don't like their co-workers. And so think about that. We're going to be losing people. We're going to have higher turnover if we don't take the time to build a good culture and get people connected and comfortable together as a team.

And so here are some practical steps that we can put in place. Number one is-- and this is the beginning of a new year. I think having team meetings to talk about how we're going to work together periodically can really be helpful in this. It can be a bonding experience, and set the table for people to get along more effectively and communicate better.

And so I love, like once a year or so, to facilitate a rules of engagement conversation. And you can call it communication guidelines, you can call it team rules-- whatever feels comfortable for you and your team. I call it rules of engagement. So basically, it's bringing the team together and saying, hey, guys, we're starting a new year, we've got some challenges ahead, I'm looking forward to this year working together, OK? And going into this year knowing that we're all really busy, I want to-- because we have to spend so much time together-- think about this, folks-- and this is me offline now saying this, think about this. For a full-time working adult between Monday and Friday, we are spending more of our waking hours with our co-workers than we are with our family.

And so it really makes sense to make the environment at work as comfortable as possible for everybody, and that's what I do. I say during these rules of engagement conversation or communication guidelines conversations, I say to the team, guys, we're spending a lot of time together, Monday through Friday, and I want to make our time together is enjoyable for all of us, right? I mean, who wants to spend 40 or 45 hours a week with a bunch of people and not get along very well or have it be uncomfortable?

And so let's talk about how we're going to get along together this year. Let's talk about how we should treat each other interpersonally. And you'll have a-- and if the supervisor is a good facilitator, you'll have people talking about, well, I think we should be more respectful, and then we drill down into what does that look like? Well I think we should say good morning to each other more often. A lot of times, people come into the office and they don't even say good morning.

And so these are the kinds of things that come out. Other people say, I think we need to be all have each other's back. Well what does that mean? Well let's not gossip. I mean, if you've got something to say to someone, say it to their face, don't go tell one of their colleagues something, if you have something say, say it to their face. And other times we talk about communication.

And so that's one way I kick it off, is to have a rules of engagement conversation. Folks, those go really, really well. I was doing one very recently with a team-- I was facilitating this with the team, and they came up with some very practical-- they said prioritize-- they had three rules of engagement. One was prioritize relationships. They said, too many of us just come into the office and go right to our cubicle and we don't even say good morning. Let's spend a few minutes in the morning connecting with each other. And so that was one of their first rules.

Another rule was to respect each other's boundaries. People were saying, too many people are interrupting each other here. When we're working, people come up and just start talking, not realizing that I'm in the middle of something, right? And so they started talking about, let's be more respectful before we just start talking to someone and say, hey, I need to talk with you, is this a good time or should I come back? So they started talking about respecting each other's boundaries. And then a third rule they came up with in this round, communication. Let's make sure that everyone who needs to know something about a project or a task gets copied on every email so people aren't left out of the loop.

And so those are the kinds of things that come up when you-- but the neat thing about that is then you memorialize it, you go ahead and write it up, send it back out to everybody, and then a couple of times a year, go back and revisit them and say, how are we doing, guys? How are we doing with our rules of engagement? Are we treating each other respectfully? Are we respecting each other's boundaries? It really keeps people-- makes them stop and think how they treat each other, and it really does improve kind of the positive energy in the team.

Because think about this-- culture occurs or the energy in a team or the environment-- the quality environment is created by how we treat each other interpersonally. Like positive morale, people talk about we need better morale, better morale happens when people are nicer to each other, when people treat each other more respectfully. Then people look forward to working together and they enjoy the experience more. Morale gets better. They're going to be more positive, more comfortable, and that's what we want. We want people wanting to be a part of a team, we want them to want to belong, and that starts with how we treat each other.

Now a good way to reinforce that is to-- here's another-- at another team meeting, I would say, let's talk about-- in terms of communication, let's have a conversation today about, since we all communicate together so often, how each of us most prefers to be communicated with. This is a really practical conversation to have. You go around the room and everyone says their favorite-- some people say, I like face-to-face, get up and talk to me. Other people say, send me an email or text me. And so you get to know what people's communication preferences are, and then drill down into that. Well, if they say they like emails, ask them, what kind of emails do you like? Do you want just brief, bulleted information, or do you want a data dump? Do you want me to send everything to you in writing that you need-- that you would possibly need to know?

And it's really wonderful. Then we even drill down into what times a day? What time of day are best for you? So I've come out of those meetings with some people saying, don't hit me first thing in the morning, I'm not a morning person. Please let me have my first cup of coffee or my second cup of coffee before you come to me with something, OK? Don't hit me when I walk in the door at 8:30. Other people say, I'm a morning person. If you've got something really important to talk to me about, hit me first thing, that's when I'm fresh.

So these kinds of conversations, again, not only do they bond teams, but they get people thinking about how they're treating each other, how they're communicating, and they help them interact more effectively. And some great things happen. So people start to be more thoughtful about being more respectful, they start being more considerate of each other. And it's not that people aren't naturally considerate, it's that people are busy, people are stressed.

If they're not thinking about intentionally being nice or intentionally being more courteous as they interact or intentionally respecting someone else's preferences or boundaries, they're not going to. So these kinds of team meetings get people primed to treat each other better and to work together more effectively, and it really does improve that the energy in the team and the culture, and it does help people feel more comfortable working together.

Here are some ways to keep that momentum once you've started having those kinds of conversations. Maintain a structure of communication. Some teams only have team meetings on an as-needed basis. Kevin Kruse, who wrote the book, Employee Engagement 2.0 that's all about how do you have an engaged work team, said that it's really, really important in today's world when people are so disconnected especially, because of technology and everyone's got their own agenda, it's so important to have a regular team meetings.

Now you don't have to have one every day, and maybe you don't even have to have one once a week-- maybe you do it every other week, once a month, but they were talking about-- he was talking about how important it is-- if you want to maintain a bonded team that's comfortable with each other, get people together, because everyone's going in different direction. Get people together at least on a periodic basis, a regular periodic basis. Go around the room and have everyone be able to give a report of what's going on in their world right now, what their priorities are, what's important to them.

It keeps people respectful of where other people are coming from, keeps people more bonded, keeps people to being more mindful of each other's priorities, keeps people more on the same page together. That's really, really important. And during those meetings, when you have those team meetings, I love to start almost every meeting with a bonding exercise. Now let me go into that a little bit. This is really important, because to bond, people need to get to know each other better with their guard down. I mean, people connect and bond better with their guard down and where they don't have their professional game face on.

So I love to do bonding exercises like go around the room and tell me about the best concert you've ever attended and why. I've done that one half-a-dozen times. I love it every time I do it. Like I talk about-- and I'm a Baby Boomer, I don't mind sharing, so I talk about going to see Bruce Springsteen in Los Angeles at the Coliseum in 1985. I mean that, to me, was an incredible experience. I mean, I've been a Bruce Springsteen fan forever, and to see him live in LA was unbelievable. I mean, to this day, I hear a Bruce Springsteen song on the radio, I still get the warm and fuzzy because that experience was so incredible.

And you get-- and it's really, you get to know people better. You get to know the kind of music they like, you get to know them more as a human being, less as a work colleague. And then maybe the next team meeting, let's say you're doing monthly team meetings, maybe the next team meeting you go around the room to say, tell me the best vacation you've ever been on and why it was so awesome. So you get to know people. Maybe the next time you say, tell me about-- tell me two things about yourself that no one here knows. I love doing that kind of stuff, and I've been doing it for so long that it really gets people to relax a little bit together, get more comfortable with each other.

And then part of the-- part of the rules of engagement-- it's funny. That one team I was mentioning earlier that said prioritize relationships, this was a team of seven people. When we talked about what is prioritizing relationships mean to you, they basically said, all of us ought to know each other well enough-- we ought to know each other's story. It's a small team of seven people, there's no reason that all of us shouldn't know where everyone's from originally, how many children they have, the basic things. Not prying down into people's business, but just getting to know each other, taking an interest in each other.

But as you do some of these things, folks, it's amazing. I've seen it over and over and over again, and the research really reinforces this. Teams that are intentional about teambuilding like this and bonding together end up having better symmetry, they're more connected, they're more caring of each other, they treat each other better, and at the end of the day, they're far more productive. It's really worth taking the time to do this.

All right, so in terms of creating opportunities for bonding, so team meetings are one example like I mentioned a moment ago. But I truly-- I believe in getting beyond that. If you can get people in informal settings from time to time, like having team lunches is a great thing. And you don't always have to take people out. I've got-- I work with an organization that once a month or so, give or take, they will-- the supervisor will bring lunch in, and they're not talking work. Everyone just comes in and they just have-- they just enjoy a meal together. And it's brought to them.

Now, I mean, obviously you've got to have some budget for that kind of stuff, but there's other ways if you don't have budget. Some teams do potlucks where every once in a while they do a potluck and everyone brings in a dish from their native culture, another way to get to know each other better. And then people present where that dish is from and why it's a favorite dish in their culture. Helps people, again, get to know each other again, what sets them apart and we can get to know each other just that much better.

I have another colleague that during the nice weather on Friday, he brings his smoker and he barbecues for whoever is interested on Fridays for lunch. So he's got a team of seven or eight people I think if I'm remembering right, and he just-- they have a back patio back behind one of the offices, and he just-- and he does it. Because he wants the fellowship.

I've got another team I'm very comfortable with, they have a team rule, that there's no business-- and this is a maintenance team in the school district, they said there's no business to be done, we're not going to talk about work orders for the first 15 minutes every day. People reported at 7:00, the work orders get handed out at 7:15, and the unwritten rule is, for the first 15 minutes, we have coffee together, we catch up with each other, that we talk about the game, what we did last weekend. And I thought that was amazing that their leader thought enough about the importance of bonding to even establish that as a rule, that the first 15 minutes, we're going to hang out together.

And those are the kinds of things to think about. My team at Deer Oaks, we're virtual, our whole EAP team is virtual nowadays, and so we're spread out all over. But periodically we come together and do an off-site event. We've gone bowling, we've done all kinds of things together. We went to Topgolf recently-- we rented out a back room in a restaurant and had a team meal together and played bingo, it was really, really fun.

And so, I mean, this is the kind of stuff-- but you have to plan it, you have to be intentional about it. And so be thinking about creative ways you could a couple of times a year get people together to get some additional bonding done, and it really, really helps the team and the environment and the culture.

In addition functionally, encourage people to work together on assignments. That's a great way-- I had a supervisor of a maintenance team at a local municipality, he had two guys that hated each other. And they-- you know how sometimes when you get people in a room together-- I think there was like eight or nine people in the team, but two of these guys hated each other. And you know when people don't like each other, you can cut the tension with a knife sometimes in team meetings? Or even informally, people know when those two people are in the room together, they just don't like each other, it makes everybody else uncomfortable?

What the supervisor decided to do is you know what? Life is too short, this is pulling the team down, he decided to make those guys ride together a couple of times a week. He put them on assignments together, made them sit in a truck together. Well darn it, guess what happened? Because they started having lunch together and started to get to know each other better, it really loosened up the resentment between them and they started to-- they didn't become BFFs, of course, but at least it got rid of a lot of the animosity, which really helped there in their relationship, and it reduced the tension among the team.

There's one other example of two people that really didn't like each other. They were working in a 911 center, and they actually went out of their way to schedule to be on opposite shifts, they liked each other that-- or they didn't like each other that much. But all of a sudden they got stuck on the same shift together and they had lunch together and they found out they had a lot more in common-- this is after working together for several years-- than they ever knew. Everything changed when they both realized they were both married to police officers, they both had two children that were about the same age.

All of a sudden, they went from not liking each other-- it was just one of those personality conflicts where they didn't like each other on sight for whatever reason-- to having a decent relationship. And again, maybe they didn't become best friends, but the animosity was able to go away as they realized that they had more in common than they knew and they were able to work together. And so you can actually encourage people to work together on assignments to strengthen those bonds.

In addition, focusing on developing interpersonal skills. I think all of us know as supervisors, we're doing professional development, skill development for all of our teams. Don't forget interpersonal skills. We do a lot of training in our world nowadays on technical skills, and those are important, right? So if you're working on accounting, we're trying to work on our ability to do spreadsheets and analytical work and those kinds of things, crunch numbers, and if you're working in IT, you're working on coding and programming and those kinds of things. But don't forget the interpersonal skills. The interpersonal skills are really important. That's where culture is formed, is how people treat each other interpersonally.

So make sure that in your professional development work, you're reminding people of how they treat each other. That's every bit as important-- the research is really conclusive-- that how someone gets along with someone else is even more important than their technical skills. Technical skills will always be important, the work's got to get done, but when people fail on the job, it's typically not because of their deficiency in technical skills, it's typically because they can't get along with others very well.

And so-- and remind people. When you follow-up team meetings, if you do these rules of engagement or you do these communicate-- how we're going to communicate together, you do those kinds of meetings early in a year or periodically, three or four months or six months later, follow up and say, hey, I want to I want to hand out the rules of engagement again today and I want to ask you guys, how's it going? Are we still remembering these things? Are we still focusing on treating each other the ways we agreed we would treat each other when we had this conversation six months ago? It's really good to remind people of those kinds of things. It makes people stop and think before they interact with each other. It makes them more in a more conscious of how to treat people right.

Last but not least, I'd suggest to all of you, because you're so busy, and because this is an area that's often neglected, formally, all of us are doing some basic teambuilding stuff, right? It does come with the territory when you're a leader. But again, as I mentioned earlier, the research seems pretty conclusive that there's not a lot of formal team building plans in place among teens, among leaders.

And so I would recommend that you create a teambuilding plan, and this is the beginning of a new year, right? 2020, a new decade. Create a teambuilding plan. It doesn't have to be something that's overly complex, it can be something very high level. And so here would be an example, and it's something that I do. I have a every-other-week virtual team meeting. We do it by teleconference.

And so we do icebreakers. I try to do icebreakers at least every other meeting. And we're doing some fun icebreakers. And so in 2020, I'm committing to doing that. I've got a team meeting today, we're going to do one this afternoon. So be doing some of those icebreakers. Be coming up with different things for people to share to get to know each other better. It's real important before you just get down to business every time. So that can be one of your goals, is to integrate icebreakers.

Another goal would be to do maybe two-- you could say, this year I want to do two off-site teambuilding events. And you can have the team plan it. Rather than you coming up with it and presenting to the team, this year we're going to do a summer picnic, and we're going to do a holiday gift exchange. Have the team-- say, I want to do a couple of teambuilding events this year and say, what do you guys think-- what would you get behind? What would you enjoy doing? And have the team brainstorm the teambuilding events.

But don't neglect these things, folks. It's so important. Make sure you're having regular team meetings, you're somehow reminding people of how they should be treating each other or how they want to be treating each other. Make sure you're doing icebreakers whenever you can. It warms people up. Make sure that if-- you see some deficiencies within team members where they're not working very well together, make sure you're making assignments that cause people to at least try to work together and get to know each other better.

And don't forget, as you're coaching people about their professional growth, to talk about areas of interpersonal skills where each person can be working to improve. Some people could work on being better listeners, other people could work on spending more bonding time with each other, maybe not be as isolated, spend a little bit more time with your teammates.

But schedule a couple things. Make a plan, OK? Make a plan. So for me, my plan for this year is every other month-- or excuse me, every month, every other meeting-- so that's 12 meetings a year, I'm doing an informal bonding. And then twice this year, OK? I'm planning an off-site teambuilding event. And so that's my plan for this year.

And then in the middle, I'm going to have a follow-up conversation about how we're treating each other. And so those are the three things that I'm going to do this year-- and I've been working on this now for a while, but I'm going to-- I want to continue to make sure that our team is getting along as well as possible and that we've got the most positive culture and the most comfortable place for everyone to work, because I want people to come to work and feel like they belong, feel like they're important, and I want the environment to be as comfortable as possible, so all right.

Folks, we've covered a lot in a very short period of time. Let me open it up for questions. And so if you have any questions, if you could please type them in to the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. All right, we're starting to get questions.

Whoops, let me get back to the top here. I've got some good questions. All right. First question, this is a good one. What if you have people who don't want to bond, they want to get down to business? That's interesting. That comes up a lot when I do this presentation. And so what I want to share with you is-- we have to do it-- this is so important, that we need to do this for everyone's sake, and even when you have a handful of people-- and you'll always have a few people that don't want to-- they don't want to bond. They're like, I'm just here to work.

Say to those people respectfully, I understand that and I respect that, but you know what? Because we spend so much time together-- I won't overdo it-- this is what I say to those people. I won't overdo it, I'm not going to make you hang out together and small talk for 30 minutes a day, no, I'm not going to ask you to do that, but we are going to periodically do some team things together because I really do think it's important for everybody to at least get to know each other well enough to be comfortable working and communicating together.

Just, I mean, hold your ground with that. Respect the fact-- respect where they're coming from, make sure you're not overdoing it. So if you've got six people, three of them don't like doing-- right? Because I don't want to force it, but maybe once a month you do a five-minute bonding thing. It's still important to do. Even the [AUDIO OUT], they do have an interpersonal side, too, they do have a bonding side, too. And so it's interesting. As you get people into a rhythm of doing these kinds of things, even those people will come around a little bit, they'll warm up a little bit.

And that's important, because sometimes it's the people that are all business that are making things uncomfortable in the culture, you know what I mean? They're the ones that aren't making others feel-- they're the ones that are more critical when someone makes a mistake, they're the ones that might be harder on each other and maybe don't smile enough, don't say hello enough where people feel uncomfortable coming to the office. So it's important that we soften those people up as well. All right, next question. Thank you, that was wonderful. It's important.

Next question, OK. All right, these tips appear to be mostly pointed to current managers who have direct impact-- who can have a direct impact on team performance. How would these principles apply to a larger organization where an executive might influence lower organizational levels to build great teams? Or how could we influence teams-- I gotta scroll down here-- how could we influence different departments throughout an organization?

So I'm a senior leader-- it sounds like you're a senior leader. If I'm a senior leader, I want to have a management team meeting periodically, right? For me, I'd probably do it every other week, because first line managers are so important to managing and leading productivity and creating positive morale. And so I might go every other week, or at the very least, once a month with a management team meeting and-- several years ago, when I was a director of an organization, I had three-- or I'm sorry, four regional managers reporting to me. We got together once a week.

Nowadays I probably would do that maybe a little bit less frequently, I probably overdid it back then. I probably would have-- I probably changed to every other week, but at the very least, once a month you want to get those managers together, and as you're coaching those managers, part of my coaching with them is let's talk about teambuilding. I would make an agenda item. What are we doing to try to build positive vibes and positive connections among employees across the organization and then within your individual departments? I mean, I'd make that a regular conversation.

And of course, don't dictate and tell them how to do it, but facilitate, reinforce the importance of it, and potentially getting more productivity and creating a better culture for everybody, but then ask the managers for ideas as to what they could be doing to be able to create more synergistic teams at the department level, so that's a great question.

All right, next person says, can we get a copy of this presentation? By all means, yes. All you have to do is hit Reply to the GoToWebinar presentation for today and to your invitation and just ask our staff, they'd be happy to send you a copy of the slide. All right, next question-- what was the name of the book you mentioned from Kevin Kruse? The name of the book was Employee Engagement 2.0. By Kevin Kruse. Kruse is spelled K-R-U-S-E. Again, that's Employee Engagement 2.0 by Kevin Kruse, K-R-U-S-E.

Let's see. Can you share resources for icebreakers or examples? Sure, let's talk about more examples of icebreakers. So I mentioned a bunch. Let's talk about more. Icebreakers, if you think about this, think about-- icebreakers are ways to have people-- to go around a room and have people have an opportunity to talk about something personal that's not uncomfortable to let each other get to know each other, and also to have some fun-- people have some fun with it, right?

And so you can say, what's your favorite sport? I mean, that can be one. And sometimes you'll get some people that don't like sports. That can be one. You can say what-- you can say, what's one of your career goals? That it would be helpful if everyone on the team knew so we could be respectful of that.

So you can keep it professional at times and keep it focused on work. Is there a professional skill you'd like to develop that would be a surprise to us? To everybody else on the team? Like one time I had someone who was an administrative person who was really an introvert who said, I want to learn to be a public speaker. And so we had some conversation about that, but that was interesting, right? And it actually opened the door for her to have an opportunity to do some of that because folks in the room learned that from her as we were going around the room brainstorming and sharing.

And so just be creative about it. You can talk about what's your bucket list? What's the number one thing on your bucket list? What's the dream vacation that you're working towards? So just be creative in how you try to have that conversation, but it really, really helps. As people get to know each other better as people-- think about this. When people get to know each other and they let their hair down a little bit, later on when there's a conflict or a misunderstanding, people are much more likely to give each other the benefit of the doubt because they've gotten to know someone as a human being.

If people just work together but they don't really bond at all and everyone's just all business, think about that. Not only is the environment a little bit more comfortable, it gets stuffy and unfriendly, right? And it's uncomfortable for people, and a lot of people don't like-- they don't look forward to coming to work within that kind of stuffy environment.

But also, if two people on that team get into a disagreement or someone sends someone an email that's kind of terse or maybe even a little bit rude, the receiving person is going to be likely to think that person's a jerk rather than if they got to know that person and know a little bit about them as a human being and know that they've got a good heart, they're more likely to get the benefit of the doubt and think, oh, Billy or Ann probably just was stressed out when they sent that message, I'm sure they didn't do it on purpose. So we're much more likely to give each other the benefit of the doubt if we get to know each other better.

Good conversation, folks. Let's see. Got some more coming in, we've got a little bit more time. All right, here's a good one. How do we get an employee to buy into accountability when they don't feel like they're doing anything wrong? And that's a good question, and that's not necessarily directly related to what we're talking about, but certainly related to being a good leader and a good manager.

And there are some people that don't take responsibility, I think we know that. There's certain personality styles, there are certain folks that are more difficult than others, and oftentimes a characteristic of someone-- and they might be a little bit narcissistic or a little bit defensive, argumentative, and a lot of that comes from ego, it comes from-- sometimes it comes from a lack of-- of good interpersonal skills, but in any event, it's hard to work with folks like that.

And so let's say you're trying to work with an employee-- and let me connect it back to teambuilding. Let's say you got someone, when you're doing your teambuilding meetings, you're trying to icebreakers, this person is always kind of gumming it up. Maybe just not cooperating, not participating. And so let's say you call them into your office to say, hey, I was wondering-- I mean, when we have our teambuilding meetings and we do our icebreakers, you never seem to want to participate, and I'm just wondering why. And let's say that person says, I'm too busy, I don't have time for that, and they're not taking responsibility or they're not willing to cooperate.

For you to be able to say to them, well, I need to ask you please to at least take part. I'm not asking you to love it and to dive into it with all your heart. I mean, I recognize that this isn't your favorite thing to do and I respect that, but I would ask you to at least participate just as an equal member of the team, because I think-- and I would tell them, I think it's important for people to be able to get to know you. Not only for you to get to know your teammates, but for them to get to know you in terms of their ability to work effectively with you in the future. The better they get to know you, the more motivated they're going to be to help you and work with you. I mean, I would really kind of talk it through with that person.

Now outside of the teambuilding context, if someone's really not taken much responsibility-- let's say you're trying to coach them on something they're doing that's not effective and they're just really defensive saying, that's not my fault, it's the other person's fault, and it's always never their fault, there are people like that, right? That don't take responsibility. I would coach them and ask them to say-- and I basically am honest with someone and I frame it in a way that's-- so that hopefully they won't be defensive and to say, well in any interpersonal interaction, there's always two sides, right? There's always-- there's no one's-- ever always at fault. If more than one person's involved in an issue, there's always input from both sides, right? That could be tweaked to help the interaction be more effective.

And I just say, OK, no, I understand, you don't think that that interaction you have with your colleague is your fault. I understand that and I respect your feelings about that, but if there was something, knowing your colleague, if there was something you could do differently to maybe have your colleague accept your point of view better, what would that be? And so there's creative ways you can coach people and talk with them to try to get them to take some responsibility to try to improve even though they may not be-- they may be so defended, they'll never admit blame. And so I hope that helps.

All right, time for two more questions, folks. Ideas for maintaining, this is a great question. Because obviously over time, right? Things can get stale, and your colleague here is talking about, what are some ideas for maintaining? These are good ideas, but we've encountered issues with consistency and ongoing culture of staff turnover or heavy workloads take over. That's a great point.

So one of the reasons why I do this regularly-- and that's my point for consistency and to maintain a good team vibe and energy and culture over the long-term. That's why I'm really big on-- let me go back to my one slide about-- let's see, let me get down to the one slide again about doing a plan, create a teambuilding plan.

I truly recommend-- so because we're all busy, managers and supervisors, directors, whatever your title is, when you're leading people, you're going to be a busy person, right? And so the day-to-day operational taskings and projects that you have going and customer issues and troubleshooting that you have to do is a full-time job, we all know that, OK?

So teambuilding's something that if you don't have a plan in place, it'll tend to only happen on an ad hoc basis down the road. And again, since there's such a positive outcome of this, if you do it proactively and intentionally in terms of culture and morale and productivity, it's really important to have a plan. That's why I'm saying, put a plan together. And you could build your plan around team meetings. So maybe once a month you're doing a teambuilding-- team meeting with an ice breaker, that can be helpful. Maybe during two of those meetings during the year, you're having a conversation about rules of engagement, how we going to treat each other, and what's the best way for us to communicate together? That you do that once a year. Two different meetings, you do those two things.

And from year to year, from 2020 to 2021, 2022, as you have turnover, you're re-upping those conversations and you're letting newer people that join the team to be involved in those conversations. So I would-- I do that at least once a year. And then, of course, every year, I would plan at least two-- you could do a little bit more, but I'd plan at least two informal socializing events. Off-site if possible, you could do it on-site with potlucks and those kinds of things, but off-site lunches, go to a bowling alley, do something-- go to a park in the summertime and have a picnic, but I would plan a couple of off-site where people can let their hair down.

I could tell you so many stories about how much better people get along after getting to know each other in an informal setting and having a little bit of fun together. It's like-- I mean, it's unbelievable, the impact. But you have to plan it, because we're all so busy, you've got to plan this to keep it going. All right, time for one last question. Folks, thank you, almost everyone has stayed on today.

All right, here's a really good question. When we ask everyone their favorite way to get messages or be communicated with, i.e., email, in-person, et cetera, how do you accommodate if everyone on the team has different preferences? That's the beauty of having that conversation. So I'm really glad you're asking that question. That's the beauty is, you want to have everyone on the team be more aware of how everyone else likes to be communicated with. And you probably want to have one person write it down as everyone's going around the room so then it can be typed up and sent back out to everybody.

And then just remind people. Just remind people, just be aware. Be aware that if you're-- I'm a Baby Boomer, OK? So I didn't text for the longest time. I wasn't a texter, OK? I'd have people, oftentimes younger colleagues, right? Because of technology, growing up with technology texting me, and I I'm an emailer. I like face-to-face and email, but I wasn't texting. The problem was, some of my younger colleagues were texting me and I wasn't very responsive because I don't check my texts very often. I'm looking at my email inbox and I'm more aware of the one-on-one because that's the time frame that I grew up in, that was prevalent then.

I decided after these meetings about having these conversations about-- and learning that some of my colleagues wanted texts in certain environments, I decided, you know what? I need-- great communication is to adjust our style to what's comfortable for the person you're communicating with. So I have become much more of a texter.

And guess what? I get great response, and I'm much more bonded with some of my younger colleagues who enjoy texting as a result of me flexing what was comfortable for me to be more comfortable for them. So again, it's really important for all of us to stop and think when I'm going to communicate with someone, what's the best way to communicate with this particular person?

Like, I've got a person on my team right now-- and I'm a morning person, I used to send her a lot of emails at 8 o'clock in the morning, I wouldn't hear back from until 11:00, and I used to wonder why until we had the conversation, she said, I'm not a morning person. Now I don't even email at 8:00. I hang onto an email, unless it's urgent, I hang onto that email until later out of respect for allowing her to get herself up and going before she has to respond to something I'm asking for.

All right, folks, we covered a lot in a short period of time. I want to thank you very much. I want to remind you again that this is the first in the Deer Oaks-- first topic and in the 2020 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate Webinar Series. If you attend all four webinars this year either live or by going online and viewing the recording-- these are all recorded, you will receive at the end of 2020 the Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate.

If you have any questions about the series just, hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation today, or if you want to copy the slides, again, just hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and our staff would be happy to provide you with the information or the slides. Thanks again, folks. It was a really good session today, I appreciate the great questions and appreciate everyone's staying on until the end. Have a great rest of the day, and I hope to have you on in the next session coming up in April. Take care. Bye bye.