Silence is an indicator
When the person was finished explaining their point, I was asked if I had questions. I started to explain myself (it was the first space for me to address the suppositions made) and was immediately cut off. This happened two more times. The second time, I said I understand and I hear you. The third time, I said I hear you loud and clear. Then I was asked for feedback. What do you think my reply was?
It used to be that the cutting edge way of managing was “walking around.” Now, that has to come in a different form of being available and seeing what people need to move their projects forward. How do you measure team cohesiveness? Who cares about team cohesiveness? If you’re interested in “doing more with less” or cutting back on the budget, why not put your attention on something that isn’t a line item on the P & L?
Focus on the unspoken.
Here are eleven behaviors to watch for on staff meeting calls to tell if you have room for improvement:
- Blocks of silence when asked for ideas or questions.
- Lack of new ideas unless they’re previously provided by you.
- People complain less.
- People complain more.
- When certain people are on the call, ideas don’t flow or the conversation shifts.
- Lack of eye contact or lack of use of video on web calls.
- People disappear at the end of the day without letting anyone know.
- People disappear during the day without letting anyone know.
- Email trails get longer and a little snarky.
- No one taking the risk to ask “bad” or “stupid” questions.
- Watch who asks questions in public and who doesn’t.
When a team works, you know what it sounds like. When people enjoy each other, there is a comfortable quiet or there is laughter or there is an audible appreciation of others. When a team doesn’t work well together, you can see the conversation direction being one way. The interactions are probably directed to and from the leader.
In facilitating a group I co-led with another professional, the styles differences were pronounced, at least to me. When I was asked a question, they expected for me to answer the question. There are 15 people in the room who all have opinions and understand the environment better than me. That’s another way to assess the need of a group. When someone asks a question, who do they ask? Each other? Does the person in the room with the most knowledge or insight to the situation get directed the question? Or are they asking the safest person?
If you want silence, you know how to get that. If you want improved productivity, listen to what’s not being said. If you want to know more about wrecking the silence, study something about motivation and influence.
What to do to get more from your team on staff calls:
- Create social norms that are agreed upon.
- Have each person play a role or a position to ensure inclusion.
- Create space (time) for intense virtual brainstorming for problem solving.
- Start with each person telling what’s new and what’s good.
- Cut people off who like to hear their own voice after the diminishing point of return.
- More ideas….call me….