As management teams attempt to harness the power of the modern workplace, it’s clear that the use of a collaboration skills checklist relies on a culture of open and honest communication which fosters an environment of transparency. The team huddle is an opportunity to do just this, in a casual setting that encourages everyone to talk.

At first, your people may be reticent to speak. To overcome this, you should:

  • Keep the team huddle short
  • Give it direction
  • Ensure that it doesn’t evolve into problem-solving
  • Make it fun

In this article, we discuss the objectives of team huddles, and how to achieve these objectives with some team huddle ideas that work equally well with teams working in a single location or remotely.

What is a team huddle?

The team huddle could be your single most effective communication tool, providing it meets its purpose. This is to allow every person in the workplace to share their upcoming day with others. While this is likely to have a side benefit of enabling your people to discover collaboration opportunities, the meeting’s main thrust is to provide people with time to speak and encourage them to become more open.

Your team huddle helps to:

  • Keep communication channels open
  • Promote transparency
  • Foster team communication
  • Ensure that everyone contributes
  • Reduce the red tape that stifles communication

The formality of team huddles

Team huddles should, by their very nature, be informal gatherings. However, you will want to formulate some ground rules to help them run smoothly. For example, you may wish to stipulate language that would be considered out of bounds. This may be particularly important if your team is multicultural, or working remotely. You should also be specific about the topics to be covered – and this isn’t to plan the week ahead or discuss the merits of a specific project.

It is everyone’s responsibility to speak

If your agenda is clear (for people to inform others of what they are working on during the day ahead), then it is also clear that everyone should speak during the team huddle. The simple process of openly stating what they are currently working on produces greater commitment to achieve daily objectives.

Who speaks first in the team huddle and who follows can be a conundrum, but there are a couple of ways in which you can keep it fresh. For example, have the person who spoke last in the previous team huddle kick off this time. Or, perhaps, the last member to arrive should speak first. From here, you may decide to move clockwise or anticlockwise. Some teams use a tennis ball, with the speaker deciding who the next person to speak will be by throwing it to him or her.

What does everyone speak about?

When setting your team huddle agenda, remember that the meeting should be short, to the point, and allow everyone to speak. Team or project meetings are for more in-depth discussions. A good starting point is to require each team member to share with his or her colleagues their:

  • Accomplishments from yesterday
  • Three top priorities for today
  • Problems that they need help with

On this last point, encourage your people to volunteer the help required, but ensure that those discussions are held after the team huddle.

If a team member has received help from others, they should be encouraged to share this and thank that person in this public forum.

Use the team huddle to learn about others

The team huddle is an ideal opportunity for people to share information about themselves. This should be kept lighthearted, and could be a quickfire round of answering a common question at the end of the session (or the beginning, to get everyone ‘limbered up’). For example, you may ask that each person in turn names their favorite film, or Disney character, or the last book they read, etc.

Where and when should you have your team huddle?

Generally, the best time to hold a team huddle is in the morning. However, if the team works flexible hours, you will need to select a time when all the team members are present – or, perhaps, hold two team huddles.

Choose a place where it is easy for the team to stand, and make this the setting for each team huddle – same time, same place, every day.

To ensure you keep team members engaged even when they’re remote and overseas, hold the meeting via Skype or similar, applying the same parameters; though you may have to use a virtual tennis ball!

The real value of team huddles

Team huddles will foster a more committed, focused workforce. They encourage open communication, keep the team up to date with what is happening, and enable team members to identify where they can add value by helping their colleagues. You’ll find that your team huddles become invaluable opportunities to share news and learn about your team, as well as being incredible motivational tools.

Contact Primeast today to discover how a Team building course can embed effective interpersonal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers and employees.

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