When Your Members Meet Up Independent Of You

I knew when it was my turn I wanted to highlight my co-workers. They worked so hard on their projects, and for this company, they deserved recognition. So when the question was asked, I replied, “I’d like to shout out to Jay for always rocking his projects and continuously helping with side tasks without hesitation. I’d also like to shout out Tom for always being supportive and no matter how busy his schedule, he always makes time for the team”. 

We have a specific section of our weekly meeting called “Shout Outs.” This is where anyone in the group can acknowledge someone for something they did/said. It’s a form of public praise for each other. It helps brighten their day by being recognized. 

While at a meeting, Carly shouted out Ray for meeting with her one day after work for dinner to help solve a problem she was having with a few team members. Ray gave her some great tips that she took back to work the next day. Carly explained what happened during our meeting and said Ray’s advice worked perfectly. 

As the team leader, I remembered sitting back with a large smile on my face and thinking how amazing it was to hear about this meetup. Two members of our group got together outside of normal work time to socialize and help each other out. This had me thinking as I was listening to them praise one another. No matter how often we meet in structured meetings like this, it will never be as powerful as when members get together on their own to connect and support one another. 

A Healthy Community

In Dance Floor Theory, we discuss the difference between two different dance floors, as seen in the above images. Which of these two images do you think would make for a better dance floor? 

Before deciding, it should probably be known that every blue line represents a relationship or connection that happened on that Dance Floor. As you can see in Dance A, not only are their people hanging upside down from the chandeliers, but also everyone is connecting with one another. It’s impossible to know who is leading the dance because everyone is connected and collectively making the dance great.

In image A, it is all about the connections. As a team leader, something to keep in mind is knowing that you are just a facilitator of engagement, not a gatekeeper. Your job is to help create the connections and then walk away and let them connect with each other. The best dances are the ones where the leader can walk away, and the party keeps going without them. You now have a healthy community when members help each other out without you needing to facilitate the connection. 

A Not So Healthy Community

Besides the fact that Dance B doesn’t have any chandelier dancers, which is extremely sad, you can also see that the only connections happening are between the members and the leader in the middle. The members aren’t connecting with each other. So what happens if the leader leaves?

If the leader leaves the dance, the whole dance falls apart. It can’t be about you; it has to be about them connecting with each other.  

This situation is like an old-school classroom if you think about it. Back in the day, teachers would lecture, and the students would sit there quietly and listen. No connections are being made, just info being passively absorbed. If you continue to “lecture” your group as a facilitator and be the center of attention, you are not succeeding in your goal of making connections between the members.

In dance floor B, the leader may know everyone, but they don’t know each other. Once the leader is removed from the equation, then the whole thing falls apart.

How do we change this? Try to switch it up a little at your next meeting and make introductions. Find a few things people have in common, introduce them, let them know they have something in common, and then walk away. It’s that simple! I guarantee they will spark up a conversation with that introduction and continue on.

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