This blog post originally appeared on Press Start Leadership.
As a leader, it’s critically important that you’re present. If your team doesn’t feel like you’re there with them, they can feel leaderless. So, how does one be truly present for their team? A lot of leaders employ passive options like having an open-door policy, which is great, but you’re going to get even better results if you’re actively present.
Here are 8 ways to be actively present with your team:
1. Schedule Regular 1-on-1s
The timing will depend on the size of your organization, but make sure you’re having (at least) monthly 1-on-1s with your direct reports. You should also keep space open in your schedule for folks that aren’t direct reports. Allow time for their own 1-on-1s and follow up with them the next time you visit their location. Again, this depends on the size of the group, but I try to have a one-on-one with everyone every six months. This gives an opportunity for all employees to speak, not just the loud ones.
2. Show Up Physically
It’s important to see the people you work with face-to-face. When people don’t see you, they can feel insecure and disconnected. If your business has multiple locations, travel to them whenever possible. You may not be able to go daily or weekly, but visit when you can. If you can’t travel to them because of Covid or other restrictions, schedule a video call. In-person meetings are better than Zoom calls, but a video chat is better than a voice call.
3. Show Up Mentally
Showing up physically is just half the battle. When you’re in a 1-on-1, turn your phone off and give your full attention. It shows that you care. Plus, we get lots of clues and context from body language, so if you aren’t paying attention, you’re going to miss something important. If you can’t be fully present, schedule something for another time when you can.
4. Walk the Floor with Your Teams
It’s important to be in the same space as your teams. They need to know you’re really in it with them, so let them know you’re coming. Walking the floor should be about letting your team show off, not about surprising or “catching” people. Personally, I like to get to the location early, get settled, say good morning, and ask folks how they’re really doing – it gets you a lot more honest information.
5. Send Daily Messages
I start all of my days by sending a “good morning” message to my teams. It not only greets them and reminds them I exist, but it lets them know that when they need something they can come directly to me. 1UP: Make sure you vary the messages. Don’t just copy and paste what you did the day before. A little effort goes a long way.
6. Send Monthly Email Updates
Keep your team up to date and in the loop with what’s going on in the company. If possible, send the emails from the CEO (or other leaders), and make sure the messaging is consistent and signed with a personal touch. It’s all about touchpoints and personalization.
7. Have Quarterly Stand-Ups
At least once per quarter, everyone should come together in person, have information shared with them, and given the opportunity to ask questions. This kind of unity is important, so do it by video if necessary.
8. Enjoy Yearly Celebrations
Use yearly celebrations to actually celebrate. This is a wonderful time to connect with your employees by chatting, asking questions, and just genuinely enjoying your time together.
Being present can be challenging when operating in multiple locations, but you don’t want to be a ghost. Put the systems in place and it will pay off. The sooner you do this, the easier it is to scale, so start when you have a team of five. You’re less likely to be caught off guard, and you’ll have a happier, healthier team.
What helps you be present with your team? Comment below and be sure to check out my new YouTube channel!