Quarterbacks use it, with much success, all the time—and it can work for you, too. It is one of the most effective leadership and management tools at your disposal, and takes just a few minutes to execute. What is it? A daily huddle.
You need to tell your team things they need to know to do their jobs—and contrary to popular belief, there are employees at all levels and all ages who want to hear those things. Employees who are disengaged feel that way because the boss is not communicating with them. The daily huddle is a great solution, and it can work in any industry.
Dynamics of a Great Huddle
Before the workday starts, gather your team to deliver key information to align them for the day. Are there any special events/visitors/promotions? How about a key training tip? Perhaps you will talk about production or sales targets for the day? All this information gives them direction and helps them to be more productive. Remember, the goal of the huddle is short-term—what do you want to accomplish today, not two years from now.
You also might toss in some feedback about how things went yesterday. While this is not the time to single out poor performers, you may highlight some wins from the day before.
Make sure to ask for input and questions. If the huddle is a new concept for your team, people will be reluctant to share anything initially. But, over time they will see you are serious about the huddle and will work with you to make it better.
Why a Huddle Works
Let’s look at why it works. First, it is personal. No texting or e-mail is involved. This is direct, eye-to-eye contact—still the most compelling form of communication we have. When we look someone in the eye we know we have their attention and we can see them understand our message.
Also, engaging in eye contact shows people they are important, that you want to communicate with them. It conveys the message that you respect and trust them enough to share this information with them. When you ask for their input, you are saying, “I want to hear what you have to say. I am interested in you and the value you contribute to our team.”
When an employee speaks of his company in terms of “they do… they say,” that employee doesn't feel connected or even part of the company. The huddle helps change that "they" mentality, to a "we" way of thinking. The huddle helps educate and align your team on key business issues, while making them feel like they are part of the team.
What’s the payoff? You get employees who understand what is expected of them on a daily basis and who feel more connected to the team. In turn they will work harder and are more motivated to do their jobs the best way they know how.
Does it always work? No. But starting the day without a huddle insures a workforce that is uninformed and de-motivated. Communication is one of the keys to success. (In fact, over 85 percent of my surveys have indicated that communication from management is in need of drastic improvement.) The huddle is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to fix this major problem.
Read more of Wally's leadership advice.
Wally Adamchik is the president of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, a Raleigh-based leadership consultancy. He holds the Certified Speaking Professional and the Certified Management Consultant designations.