04 Mar Unifying and Strengthening Teams with Soft Skills: Workshop Recaps
How’s your week going? Mine has been super busy, in the best way. Saturday, I traveled to Chicago to deliver a keynote at the world’s largest dental lab conference, then on Tuesday I zipped up to Ottawa to facilitate a teamwork and communication workshop for a biotech sales team. Add to those trips a major bathroom renovation, and you get one dusty, tired and happy guy!
My keynotes and workshops have always featured soft skills (challenging assumptions to communicate more effectively, embracing other people’s points of view, etc). I consider much of my work to be “Human 101” material – things that we all know and share, but tend to forget when facing the minutia of daily life. My clients tell me that this content is valuable no matter what role one plays in an organization and no matter what the specific challenges they face.
I’ve recently added a new, even ‘softer’ segment to my programs and the groups in Chicago and Ottawa were among the first to experience (and embrace) it. In it, I address the topics of Vulnerability, Gratitude and Empathy. Leading by example, I put myself in a vulnerable situation by telling stories about some of the hardest times in my life. I have to tell you, as someone who is supposed to be a ‘content expert’, it’s scary to stand in front of a group of strangers and show weakness. But that vulnerability creates a palpable shift of energy in the room. The participants show all the classic signs of being engaged and caring. They lean in, their eyes soften and I can really feel their caring and support. As we discuss in the sessions, there is a great power in vulnerability.
Here’s what Lam Pham of DNA Genotek had to say about the workshop in Ottawa
Here are 3 simple ways to create and maintain connection within your team, resulting in a stronger more unified workforce:
1. Listen – Go for walks every day and stop at people’s desks. Ask them what is going on, both work-related and outside of work. Listen. Don’t just listen, hear them. All the while, suspend judgment. Being interested in learning something new from your colleagues creates a more open environment that fosters empathy and lets people be heard, something we all want.
2. Share – Don’t be afraid of vulnerability. The simple act of sharing something that might be outside your comfort zone will foster a connection that will increase your team’s ability to strive for common goals in a supported, unified environment.
3. Be Genuine – If you are not authentic with your coworkers it can create a barrier that can hinder communication, collaboration and the ability to problem solve together. We all have unique stories, character traits and inherent value that we bring to a team, celebrate that.