Talk to Your Team!

Written by Laurie Hillis

Hi, I’m Laurie Hillis, I love what I do: the learning, the process, and above all, seeing how my clients grow as leaders.


April 19, 2024

A sure fire way to engage them

Part of me wants to stop this blog right here. I often think this is all that needs to be said if your team is experiencing friction, lacking motivation, missing trust, or failing to meet your shared goals – TALK TO THEM!

They are human. They want to be SEEN. They want to be HEARD. They want to be UNDERSTOOD. They want to know that their leader knows who they are, what they care about, and what they want. They want a leader who will support them. High performers, especially, want to feel that their leaders are interested in hearing their ideas and aspirations.

Your team needs to believe that you care about them. If they don’t believe you have their best interests at heart, they won’t trust you enough to fully commit their best work to you.

What the Heck do I Say?

If it feels unnatural to strike up a non-task related conversation with people on your team, it doesn’t mean you get a free pass; it’s a critical piece of being an effective leader. Also critical is coming across as genuine (a huge trust builder), so don’t try to be someone you are not. They’ll see right through you and you won’t be able to keep it up.

Don’t Scare Them

If it would seem out of character for you to pull up a chair and start asking questions, find a less abrupt, more natural way to broach a conversation with each person on your team. Maybe a walk to get coffee together is more your style (or a virtual coffee). And I’m not talking about getting deeply personal; you can show interest and get to know people through work and career related questions.

Meet Them Where They’re At

Consider each person’s preferences; some will welcome your questions and happily share with you, while others will be less forthcoming. Even if the quieter ones don’t gush their innermost thoughts and dreams, know that they likely appreciate your interest and may eventually come around to opening up. Part of building trust is honouring what each individual needs.

Ask Questions

Here are some questions you can ask that show genuine care for your team:

  • What are you excited about?
  • What’s getting in your way?
  • What do you wish you could do more of?
  • What do you wish you could stop doing?
  • If you were the leader of the team, what would you change?
  • How are you feeling about what the team is accomplishing?

Become an Extraordinary Leader

You will come away with information that can help you design work and project teams that get the most from your team and strengthen their commitment to the team’s work (read more about the power of doing what we really love in my last blog: Do more of what you love and less of what you hate).

Depending on what you hear, you have an opportunity to support your team in reaching their career goals by opening doors, assigning skill-building work, and making introductions that help them develop toward what they want. If you’re worried about losing them, well, consider this: an extraordinary leader is someone who develops the most in their team, preparing them for even greater success, whether on their current team or another.

Let’s connect:

If you want to know more about Megatrain and how we can work together, drop me a line:

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