When I left my house at 5 am for a flight to Boston to visit our MA region, it was tempting to think “could I have done these meetings online?”
Sixteen hours later sitting at Logan airport after a great day, it reinforced to me the importance of spending time with the team. There really is no substitute for personal interaction and genuine support of your team members.
I have been reading a lot on the subject of leadership recently which has definitely impacted my motivation to get out of my office and get on the road. I wanted to share a few thoughts as I reflect on my day:
1. Include as many of the team as possible
Typically, a driving reason for making a visit is to spend time with managers. But everyone on the team has a vital role in the organization. It is important to schedule, or leave free time to spend some time with everyone, even if it is a group setting where you can simply share good news, field questions and listen to concerns or ideas
2. Give everyone the chance to prepare their thoughts
I always try to seek feedback after a visit. The valuable input I got this time around was to connect directly with the team members that will be there before you travel. It gives them a chance to think about an idea they want to share or question they would like to ask rather than spring the “any questions?” comment on them. I will certainly be taking that feedback on board as I prepare for my next regional visit
3. Spend less time talking and more time listening
I have really tied hard to avoid the “prepared speech” and go with a more open approach to listening and responding. At the end of the day I want to return to my own office with more information and better connections than when I left. I can only achieve that by listening.
4. A small token of appreciation goes a long way
Bringing the “Box of Joe”, or paying for lunch is a very small but valuable investment in the team. It also gives the opportunity to spend “down time” with individuals while you eat, a chance to check in on personal lives and genuinely connect.
5. Your time is the thing people will most likely appreciate
People appreciate that your schedule is often hectic and your time is valuable. The fact that you schedule time to meet with everyone says a lot about how you value them and their contribution.
6. Be sure to appreciate everyone else’s time
You are not the only one with a busy schedule! Be sure to thank everyone for their time, attention, participation and feedback. Some of our MA team do not typically come in to the office on a Friday as they have busy Friday night and weekend schedules on the fields. They made the effort, which says so much about their commitment. It was important for me to recognize that!
I am already looking forward to my next trip. CA this time and another great opportunity to have an impact!
CEO Steel Soccer / UK Elite / FCUSA