Connection Moments to Ripples

Shelley SmithBlog

As managers and leaders, we have a responsibility to our team. Developing a workplace culture, maintaining those connections and relationships, and creating rapport, and keeping it real with our people is our responsibility.

On my podcast, “The Culture Hour” I was joined by Morag Barrett with SkyTeam and had a lovely conversation on this very topic of creating rapport with your team. She and I are kindred souls on leadership development, mining culture and relationships, and the overall importance of connections and keeping it real with your people.

She reminded me of a couple of my favorite ways of creating a new kind of rapport, whether that is in person or in a virtual training, the quick check in.

Essential Basics for Workplace Culture

The truth is there are essential basics around creating workplace culture.

Start by asking yourself; when was the last time that you checked in with your team to truly understand what’s going on? Your first steps in establishing these quick check-ins, or as she termed them “ripples and joys” to establish the routine around connecting.

I have seen these called many names such as “pains and gains”, “what is your favorite word to describe what you’re thinking and feeling right now”, or “give me something good /give me something frustrating”. Regardless of what you name these 2-minute drills, the opportunity for everyone in the zoom room or the in-person meeting to share truly sets the stage for the entire groups to know what they are thinking, feeling, saying, doing, and what is going on in their world right now.

Initially, establishing this routine takes some bar setting; it takes trust and vulnerability, but before you know it, you are doing it with consistency that allows the team to better understand who they are and what is happening beyond the day-to-day tasks.

There is a huge value and importance in being able to understand what your, or their, frame of mind is during the day because it could lead to stumbling blocks or, on the other side, it can also lead to great positive contagions.

This awareness and understanding resets that social responsibility that we have as human beings to understand what’s going on. It further allows you to deepen the trust you keep in the end. Your overall culture of community; that overall interpersonal understanding of real relationships.

You may find some people will react with resistance or discomfort. They may express comments such as “Ugh, I don’t want to, I don’t want to share” or “I think this is silly”. Some may think it is a waste of time while, on the other hand, others may be happy to share.

Show Your Team You ARE Listening

It may take a few times to get it all down to a fine science and easy / naturally sharing – but it works.

  • You can share via chat in a zoom room (public or private).
  • You can ask the team to submit ahead of time and roll through the emotions without naming names.
  • You can also do follow-up calls to your team members when something seems a little off or odd is going on with them to better support them.

This shows you care, and you ARE listening.

The key is consistency; to make sure that you are open and real. Most importantly is that you know what’s going on in their world. If you don’t know what’s going on in the world of your employees, your humans, that you’re interacting with daily this creates…assumptions of what you hear or see with your eyes. What you are feeling, your biases -whether conscious or unconscious- come to light. They can put you in a place where you are derailed; a place where you have misunderstandings.

The truth is high performing teams are not created on misunderstandings, but rather, truths.


My challenge to you is to start to implement in a different way with your team.

If you’re not already doing something like this, whether it is with your one-on-one check-ins or your weekly meetings or daily morning huddles.

Whether you execute this in your manufacturing plant as a quick morning huddle with your team or with a customer service team. If you are in retail, or if your physicians — it doesn’t matter -it works.

Creating workplace culture takes deliberate attention and commitment to the practices that show your team that you are invested, and you are keeping it real. Send me a message or replay on social media; share your success on how you are creating the ripples and connections with your team.