I read a great post this week from Switch and Shift, authored by Chris R. Stricklin that made me think, and gave me something new to try out with my team.
I have thirty-three employees that I get to work with directly, some I see quite often, and others that I communicate with at monthly staff meetings or through email. The logistics in a twenty-four hour operation make it tricky to have one on one interaction with everyone. I have gotten to know many of them on a personal level, but time and workload often prevent me from spending that quality time. In reading “Leadership Lessons from the Dinner Table”, I realize I have been missing out on a great opportunity to spend quality time with my teams, and them with me.
I often sit at my desk during my lunch break, as it is a great time to catch up on office work between meetings. In the “Leadership Lessons” article, I realized that I am missing the best opportunity to have honest and open discussion with my staff by eating at my desk. Meals and breaks are a time when everyone should be relaxing, enjoying a meal, and conversing with each other. It creates the best time for people to openly talk about themselves, their families, their interests. It also opens the door to get quality feedback, as well as their ideas for improvements.
I realize that by working at my desk, I am insulating myself from my team. While this has never been my intention, I am now cognizant that I am missing out on a great potential to create deeper connections with my team. Change is difficult, even for me, but I am so excited about the possibilities of this new process that I am going to scale my change. Beginning this week, I will eat in the cafeteria at least two days. Understanding that this may make some of my team uncomfortable, I am giving myself two weeks of visibility to see if this opens the door. By week three, I will ask my team if I can sit with them; and we will see how it goes. My hope is that these lunch meetings will become so valuable that I will never want to eat alone again!
Have you had an opportunity to capitalize on lunchtime lessons? Tell me about it in the comment section below.