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5 Team Building Tips to Jump-Start the Fall Season

by Nora Höfler/Bridal Times

How to take team building measures to get the very best out of your employees. In good times and bad…

Throughout 80’s, an authoritarian style of leadership in a company was necessary to maintain a certain level of respect. Today, people know better. The involvement of employees in an operative and sometimes even strategic day-to-day business only brings benefits to a company.
If you encourage your employees and show respect and appreciation, your employees will have an appreciation for you in good times and in bad. Strive to bring a whole new dynamic to your office and use the fall season to make it easier for your employees to move from a vacation mode to the work mode.

With our five team building tips, your employees will be happier, you will reduce your own stress as a boss, and thus create all the prerequisites for having satisfied customers.

1. Involve your employees!

Are you planning to give your bridal boutique new make-over? Or are there difficult decisions, such as recruiting new staff or a brand that needs to be taken out of the assortment?
Ask your staff! Every employee is sure to have an opinion, so find out! Hang a large piece of paper in the break room, for example, where everyone has the chance to write down their opinions. Make it clear that they shouldn’t just keep their opinions to themselves, but to share them! This is how employees who are otherwise too shy to express themselves feel approached.
In your leadership position you ultimately make the final decision, but you also came to this good decision with the help of all your employees. That is what it is all about. Your employees have contributed their part to the decision-making process. Tell them that and say thank you!

2. Be authentic and attentive!

If you ask a staff member for their opinion, then please actually be interested in their answer! The worst thing you can do is ask and then not really listen. No matter which position in the company you are in, nobody wants to be treated this way. Just like Japanese business meetings: listen carefully, take notes, look your staff in the eye and thank them for their feedback. In this simple way you express gratitude and respect – and you will get it back in the same way.

3. Team breakfast for everyone!

As a boss, establish a team breakfast with all employees once a week, or at least once a month. It is very important that this happens in regular working hours if possible. Involve all employees, even the intern or cleaning staff. Employees can each take turns to get breakfast, or keep track on a doodle list of who will contribute to the team breakfast. This is how everyone feels involved right from the start. Take advantage of this breakfast to get to know your staff a little better and also reveal a few things about yourself, which makes you personable and creates trust. Ask questions! What is going well and smoothly right now? What can, and needs to be improved? How kind of difficulties are employees experiencing in their daily work? How can a colleague who has difficulties in private life be relieved with the help of colleagues, so that the individual can bring back full performance in the future? Also give each member of staff the time and space at this gathering to really honestly say what is most important or difficult for them.

And remember, a team breakfast is not an obligation, it’s an opportunity!

4.Grant trust in advance!

Grant your employees an advance of trust and be more flexible with working hours. Assuming there is enough staff on a late Friday afternoon, let your colleagues leave two hours earlier than usual. He or She will thank you on Monday with renewed energy and fresh start! If you know that a sick child is waiting at home, you can consider giving your employee a half day at the home office.

Many executives think they would come across as too soft or too nice, and less serious. This is a very old fashioned way of management-thinking and not very logical. In most cases, people appreciate empathy and interest in them. An empathetic behavior towards employees is noticed. Just as well as an authoritarian or ignorant behavior will be remembered. Give this trust and show understanding for the concerns of your employees. Certainly you will not be disappointed! You as the boss will get that trust back. Once the employee realizes that you are truly interested in his or her concerns, he / she will be more honest and loyal to your wishes and needs. The help and understanding that you give to your employees, will be returned two times over!

5. Give praise (it does not cost you anything)!

Show, say, write to your employees whenever the opportunity presents itself that you appreciate his / her work. You can also say quite frankly that while you are not able to pay more, you appreciate the effort and dedication very much. It is always best to identify this in the context of a specific customer or project. Thus, the employee feels the praise is especially meant for them and one avoids the danger that it seems a bit half-hearted or too generalized. For example, send an e-mail to your colleague thanking them for their work and the many overtime hours of the past week. Manually write a birthday card for your colleague, mentioning how much you and the team appreciate the personality and humor of the colleague. As a surprise, bring along a round of café latte or croissants in the morning and say, “Thank you for your work last week. That was great teamwork!”

Regardless of what your implementation of the measures described above look like, it is always about appreciating the employee and telling them whenever possible. Interest, motivation, loyalty and the voluntary assumption of responsibility will be brought to you by your employees, as long as they are involved in the decision-making process. This welds your entire team together, the work is accomplished faster and easier – and it just makes the work day more enjoyable!