This is more than a blog. It’s a collection of resources, tools, tips, thoughts, notes, jottings, videos, images and other useful stuff to help your business communicate better…

Here you’ll find anything that I think is engaging, a great example of communication or just downright useful. With an occasional smattering of complete nonsense just because it made me laugh and I hope will brighten your day too.

26th January 2021

Tips for communicating with your dispersed team: Use tools to check in on people

There are hundreds of tools available out there to help you keep tabs on your team. This is not necessarily about performance – more so about checking in on how your team are feeling. Finding out how they’re doing, what their mood is, where their state of mind is at, can give you a huge insight into why things are or aren’t happening.

A basic tool I would recommend is the Niko-Niko Calendar. From Japan, it’s a mood chart with a row for each team member, and involves them each marking the box corresponding to the day and their row with a smiley to represent how they’re feeling (the variations might mean I’ve had a great day, a good day, a so-so day, a horrible day etc.). It is not a monitoring tool and should not be used as such; it is for check-ins and to see how your team are feeling. Encourage honesty, but also encourage people to explain why they’ve had a great day or maybe not such a great day. It might be that they had a big client win or they’ve put a project to bed. It might be that the weather’s been lovely and they’re just in a really good mood. And conversely if they say they’ve had a horrible day it might be that they struggled to get a piece of work done because they feel they don’t have the support they need, or that they’ve just felt a bit under the weather today.

You will start to get a feel for the mood of the team, and while it’s not necessarily about picking people up if they’ve had a bad day, it can help you to see if there are patterns in the reasons people have struggles, and if you can do anything to reduce their problems.

There are several ways you could implement this: in on office it can be done on the wall with stickers, and having everyone gather round to share their reasons for their sticker can be a good way to signify the end of the work day. If you’re working as a dispersed team you can do it online, maybe with a zoom meeting for people to include the explanation of why they’ve had that type of day. As a leader, you should take part as well and you’ll find that it helps to build trust and honestly within the team. We all have so-so and even terrible days. It happens to all of us. We can’t all have good days every single day, but it’s an opportunity to be honest, open, and explain why things are the way they are.

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