7 New life tips: Keeping team connected

Leadership tips in a hybrid and changing world

5:31 am-
I got to sleep by 11:00 last night, did get home by 7:00. A big part of the night is helping the kids go to sleep. Here’s our routine. I read a chapter out of a book aloud then ask them questions about the story. Then we put out 3-4 random objects and each kid takes a shot at making up a story and saying it aloud on the spot. Then I give them a back rub and then a blessing (and then after lights out, my son and daughter fight for a period of time (the sleep on a bunk bed), complain about going to sleep, then finally quiet…).

Writer’s note: For those of you who are keeping track, I got a head start on this article yesterday on my work break, and at the time, I felt I would still need to spend a lot of time refining what I wrote to help focus the article, so we’ll see what happens…

London. Photo by Challen Yee (1989)

London. Photo by Challen Yee (1989)

Keeping your team members connected – what we want to avoid

There’s nothing quite so demoralizing like being part of a group but not having any support.

It’s like the old saying goes, feeling alone when you are single, is nothing when compared to feeling alone when you are married or a part of a team. Anyone agree? And even in the best relationships (work or family), don’t let anyone fool you, you still have that guttural feeling to contend with at times. You have to learn to deal with it so it doesn’t destroy your working relationships or your marriage and family relations.

Periods of stress or duress when that perception of being separated begins to mount into:

PANIC, when you are responsible to fulfill a time critical mission or

PANIC and/or DEPRESSION, when being overwhelmed with the sense of being alone and confused, without any help stepping forward, or perhaps making a mistake that you feel is a disruption to the lives of everyone around you.

These are very stressful moments when the feelings of separation are great especially when you are overwhelmed with the feelings that you are letting your team down because of something you are responsible for.


There’s a Golden Lining

Yet, haven’t we all looked back and looked at the many mistakes we have made and remembered that in those moments, our feelings have no rationality in that, we feel get overwhelmed with the false reality as though their will never be a solution or recovery?

Now here you are, if life has been kind (if you have the freedom to sit and read this article on your personal device, I am going to speculate that life had been kind enough) you are beyond so many problems seeing them as distant objects in your rearview mirror and many you are able to look back an laugh at.

Even more amazing is when you realize it was probably what you needed. It’s hard to predict how unforeseen circumstances will help you learn something about yourself, but you start getting accustomed to the patterns of living and learning (and writing and training).

What to do as a leader
Since we all go through moments or periods of like this and as a leader you should be aware of the dynamics that can cause your team mates to slide unexpectedly into an abysmal state a state where emotionally people could veer off the deep end without some positive feedback.

Everyone in a team can exercise leadership skills, but as the leader, you need to make sure the system of intra-support exist. This stuff doesn’t happen by osmosis.


Here are 7 ideas that you may not have heard quite like this to keep your team in order:

1) Regular communication – with the focus on sharing lessons-learned.

Being part of a team means to be able to help others to avoid recurring problems. Reinventing the the wheel is not productive for the team as a whole is we can learn from each other’s mistakes. If we never learn from the problem solving of others, we’d run out of life before we got anywhere of significance!

When something happens that to you was not intuitive, communicate the problem to everyone. You may have been the first to uncover an obstacle in you team process.


2) Open access – crush isolation

Be available by providing a system of help. Offer contact information and a buddy system. In Navy Diver school, we are almost always with our swim buddy. And if you messed up, you walk around with either a ship mooring line or worse an anchor chain over your shoulders to emphasize the requirement. It’s hard to feel isolated when you’ve got a partner you can go to in a jam and then be able to reach out to others if necessary. In fact it’s not just necessary, it’s part of the plan.

This is especially important to get people connected as early as possible. Unless a new member feels connected, whether it’s a marriage or a young adult group, their chances of leaving skyrocket, doesn’t matter how independent or aloof they appear to be. Just adjust the personal link based on the apparent need/or experience of the new member. But EVERYONE needs to be connected.

3) Don’t blame people, instead solve problems

We all make mistakes, it’s professional to solve problems, not go around whining and complaining about others. Nor is it well to drop into self-pity. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity if everyone is going around being morose. Instead, learn from the mistake, EXPECT a solution and keep on trucking.

4) Encourage team members to live their lives.

Not only does the person have a better leisure life, networking with other people allows more ideas and perspectives that can benefit the group. Fresh perspectives provide energy and energy is contagious. Spending all of your time at work, or doing a less productive routine over and over, will cause imbalance and health problems.

Let’s be realistic though, if you’re putting together a chemical formula or adding two numbers or leveraging the relevant experiences of successful people, chances are, you need to be careful how creative you get until you gather the necessary experiences first to trust your intuition.

5) Openly recognize people for their effort and the skills they exhibit… and regarding the inverse..

Be an inspiration and encourager of others rather than chastising people for not achieving or not meeting their goals.
If people get out of hand, which is still possible, consider talking to them in private to get their side of the story before jumping on their case hard. I don’t really like the boot camp drill instructor mentality in a corporate environment where the leader thinks we all live in an open-bay barracks and we have our heads shaved standing in our underwear. (LOL).


6) Celebrate progress. Small progress, small celebrations, Big progress, bigger celebrations.

Let succeeding in attaining goals and progress be linked to positive feedback. Do weird things like surprise parties and going out to matinee movies and hand written notes of appreciation with a nice bottle of wine or a pass to a game or a dinner. Wouldn’t it be cool if we’re trying to raise the life style of the people we’re around?

Note: From the corporate-world (sort of like the “under-world”) if someone’s project gets cancelled, you should treat that with due reverence. Don’t just say, “Hey, your project’s been cancelled” and leave. Respect the fact that someone was using their sacred time and energy working on the project, no one likes to feel they’ve wasted their life doing something. Moreover, there’s a psychological cycle one goes through, similar to being pregnant, as one goes through the cycle of a project. Getting a project cancelled, especially right before it is supposed to complete can leave the worker without a satisfying outlet to vent his stress, no “Job done” satisfaction.

7) Keep tabs on important happenings of individuals on your team. Respect it as a group when it feels right.

We work a group but we respect each other individuality and their cycles of their own life, and whether they be experiencing transitions in life.
It’s could be a little weird if one day you man comes to work and he surprises you with “Oh, my [close family member] died and we had the memorial service last week.”


This was a tough one, but I had fun with it and probably needed the release after last week. Oh, by the way,  if you’ve got something worth while and you like it, leave a comment and share it.

7:10 am -getting late (as Pressfield says, what’s so good about being perfect?)

I’ll see you… on the next page

Challen Yee

Challen Yee

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