Recently, I held a coffee chat with some of our team members. I have done these in the past as a great way to connect with all levels of staff, and give them a chance to interact with folks from other functional areas as well as time focused on their own development (something none of us do enough of). Each chat has a theme; in this recent coffee chat we discussed leadership and leadership development.
We had about 50 people join across three different sessions. Big attendance jump from the 20 or so folks who came last month to discuss our entertainment strategic plan…note to self on what my peeps want to chat about.
I learned about several things and got some great suggestions – like a Ted Talk by Drew Dudley on Everyday Leadership and a book suggestion, Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith (who also has some great videos).
We also learned some great characteristics of leaders the group had been lucky enough to see and experience, including:
- Appreciating EVERY employee and recognizing their value, asking them questions and for ideas, since they will know best how to make their work better. We all know people who only manage up well, but ignore the staff; this is the opposite, great servant leadership.
- Be able to create a vision and communicate it. Getting the team to feel comfortable that they know their role and there is no confusion about where we are going.
- Holding people accountable and giving feedback. Great leaders get past the desire to be liked and to be nice to everyone, and ensure that great performers are rewarded and poor performers are given feedback to improve and aren’t let off the hook for their performance.
- Building trust by working side-by-side with the team, “in the trenches” so to speak.
- Showing integrity when dealing with those outside of our team; the team is always watching and they appreciate your behavior even when it’s with others.
- Be vulnerable and transparent, which builds trust in the team and allows them to feel comfortable giving you feedback. Feedback, the breakfast of champion leaders!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the teams in these sessions. I saw great presence and confidence around the tables; I saw a yearning for growth and development and a willingness to work together to build each other’s leadership skills. I feel more energized and excited to lead after the time spent with my teams. If you are looking for ways to connect with your staff, try a coffee chat. It’s simple to do and a true win-win for everyone who attends.