Some things only come with time. Building a team that performs much better than average is one of those things.
Regularly scheduled meetings, progress reports, project sync ups and so forth are a routine part of business. Don't mistake those for quality time with your team. The difference is subtle, yet important.
Traveling to and from client visits or conferences is an opportunity for quality time. Having lunch is another way to spend quality time. Having your team over to your house for a cookout - quality time. Taking a few days away each year to talk, reflect, generate strategic ideas - quality time.
If your team or your business is going to grow for a decade or longer, it is going to require something deeper than the best-run status meeting. No offense to a status meeting; those are also required. Yet there is something in the relationships, the human dynamic, the special sauce that only comes with a team of people spending time together.
Benefitfocus is growing rapidly, and I have the great blessing of working with many folks who have been together for over a decade. Those relationships and the time we have spent together are my most rewarding career treasure. It is a pattern we have developed and allows us to stay fresh, innovative and adaptive, while enjoying our journey together. That texture and strength also allow us to welcome new leaders to the team and enable them to quickly become woven into the fabric.
Over the years, your team is going to adapt, grow and adjust. People will be affected by life’s events; they’ll want new challenges and will need a break. Help each other when you see the small non-verbal cues and adapt to them. You only notice those cues when you spend time together.
Don't overthink or over plan this one. Spending quality time with your team does not require a plan or an agenda. As a matter of fact, if there is an agenda, it may not really be quality time. Look for ways to get informal, open-ended time together with your team. Talk less, listen, laugh and enjoy each other's uniqueness. It may end up being the most powerful thing you do as a leader.