I encourage leaders and managers to meet with their direct reports and staff at least once a week. There are opportunities to mentor, inform, and equip team members directly through this simple weekly practice. Some leaders feel they do not have the schedule, need, or patience to hold these kinds of meetings. I assure you, over the course of time the effort will prove to be fruitful. I’ll share some exercises in the weeks ahead that I have used for discussion and team building. I hope you benefit from these as much as I have. I have even thought of putting together a book of 52 exercises (one for each week of the year) for new managers — let me know what you think.
NOTE: I have used the points listed below for conducting a staff information and equipping meeting. Feel free to use this method if you’re getting started. I would encourage you to adapt and change it up to suit what works best for you and your team.
- Set the tone with an inspirational quote, story, or reading.
- Go through the exercise (try to make it as interactive as possible).
- Tie exercise back to current work, projects, and/or mission.
- Go over current list of work related items and status/issues.
- Closing comments and wrap up (provide handouts or points of application from exercise).
Entire meeting should take no more than 1 hour.
Building and Battling
[Setting the stage]
At this time in world history, many of the people in Iraq are very aware that they are living in a battle. They go to bed and wake up with the sound of gun fire and explosions, at times far away and at other times very close to home. Each new day also requires building — in some cases rebuilding offices, businesses, or homes — and of course rebuilding their lives. This is their reality. Though many Iraqis wish for better times, the truth is, this is now the world they live in — one of building and battling.
Are you aware that everyday we are also building and battling? Certainly not in the same fashion as those in Iraq but we have our own set of battles to fight and projects to build.
[Exercise with handout]
As we look at how this concept applies to us, there are two words we need to be concerned with–What and Who. Looking at the handout, take a moment to fill in under each heading your answers to these questions:
- What are you building?
- Who are you building for?
- What are you battling?
- Who are you battling for?
[Share some answers and discuss — there are no wrong answers]
How did you approach the “building” set of columns on your handout? Often these are viewed from a relational perspective. What did you put in some of these columns? What about the battling columns?
Build your relationships–make them a priority. Make your family and/or spouse the next important area. Remember, you are in a daily struggle so be prepared for the “battles”. Finally, in all these areas of life and work, we need to have balance.
For the rest of your lives–in one fashion or another–you will always be building or battling.
[Back to work]
Use a word processing program (i.e. MS Word), create a single sheet with 4 headings: Work, Family, Friends, Personal. Under each heading make two columns, one labeled “Building” and one labeled “Battling”. Print out as many as you need.