It is not easy managing a medium to large team, especially with managers, team leaders, and supervisors on board. Your communication with your officers, especially the most junior one becomes very hard.
Every successful executive would like to know more about his team: their strengths, weaknesses, fears, threats, fitting in experience, ideas, and much more. It is even a good practice to know about your team’s family occasions and difficulties. It helps you understand your team and be able to support, encourage, and assess them even better.
With managers, team leaders, and supervisors in between, your relationship with your team members becomes masked by formalities, day to day duties, and the image of the boss/monster (from employees perspective). Although it is good to be feared, it is better to be respected and loved by your employees. They tend to give you their best when you achieve that.
In MTN, we used to have breakfast with the boss. Although a great idea, it was too formal. Once I had my first medium to large (depending on how you look at it) team, I needed a way to get through to HEAR & Connect with my team. The informal weekly lunch idea came up.
Informal: call 5 employees from different departments early morning on a set day every week and invite them to lunch. Being fair but strict is not always enough. You need to break the ice and make your team members speak up.
An informal lunch allows you to get closer to your team. They tend after sometime to spill their guts. You will be amazed of what you will learn:
- New ideas
- New talents
- Zone of comfort
Such a step will allow your team to know & trust you, still keeping your image as a boss. The employees will feel they belong, important, and are heard. The last is a very important aspect for every employee. Even with open door policy, such status of being heard is hard to achieve.
Have lunch every week with some of your team members! It is a must.