Can you have QT at work?

Today's post will hone in on the love language-quality time and what it looks like in the workplace. If you don't know your love languages, take the free quiz:

If you know me, you know I LOVE quality time. What does it mean? Quality time, for me, is a thought provoking conversation, phones on silent, eye contact, vulnerability, and leaving the conversation empowered and/or learning something new. And yes, this is my top love language.

So what does quality time look like at work?

Meetings have a bad rap. But I am going to drop the "m" word - quality time can take place in meetings whether 1:1's, team meetings or specialized meetings.

"But I hate meetings..."

Okay. I feel you. Some people meet just to meet. That is NOT quality time nor the best use of time. I need you to be a change agent and challenge the format of the meeting. You will be the hero as I am sure everyone feels the meeting pains you do. Is there an agenda? Is there a designated scribe taking minutes? Do you have a purpose at the meeting? Is there pre-work that can be done before the meeting to make conversations more fruitful?

Team Meetings

If you are a boss, how can you make your meetings fun? I used to give my team fun pre-work. What are 3 things going on in the community and 2 things going on in the world we need to know about? The best part? I got to learn what mattered to the individuals on my team through their share out. I would also recommend creating a template for your team meetings for everyone to input updates prior to the meeting. Reading is fundamental. Let the team read through updates in order for you to get to the "meat" of the meeting as the boss.

We used to save time at the end for project help which would consist of brainstorming practices from Ideo. The synergy was unreal. The laughter could be heard down the hall. And we were productive! We left with purpose, direction, and answers.

1:1's with your boss

Some people love 1:1's, some people hate 1:1's. I'll be honest, I had someone who hated 1:1's, it truly upset me. This is my love language! But I also need to know what is happening in your position to report out and up. Regardless of how you feel, it is needed for your boss to be successful and for transparency to be practiced.

Okay, so let's spice up 1:1's

I am the template queen. My last team had a template of wins, challenges and a "tell me something fun" section. There was also a project management tool we created to track progress on projects so our meeting was not "here are my updates, thank you next". I have been there, and those are not fruitful. The project management tool would provide QTNA (questions that need answers) and a section for me to ask questions. Depending on the flow of the year, my team would have personal/professional development questions to answer too. Sometimes our focus was wellness - what are you doing to find balance? What are you doing for your intellectual wellness? What are your long-term goals? What do you want to accomplish for you this month? These questions allowed us to have quality time and create a positive working relationship. It also saved time because we were not reporting at each other.

Things to remember as the supervisee:

1. You have every right to set expectations with your boss. If they are not meeting your needs as a professional vocalize it and come with suggestions.

2. If the time is not being well spent, offer suggestions.

3. You deserve undivided attention. This is YOUR time. I had someone give me a gut check because my phone was out and I was guilty of answering it. Since then, I would put it on silent or in my desk drawer. I have also been on the receiving end of this and regardless of how many times I addressed phone being out/texting or laptop and typing, I still didn't feel my value. Why? This is my love language.

How can you tell if this is someone's love language?

Listen to what matters to them. I promise a colleague will say how and when they feel valued or what they enjoy, and it could be quality time. Observe your meetings - are employees engaged? How are they contributing? What needs to change to maximize time spent in meetings?

Regardless, if you have an emergency, let your colleague know why your phone will be out. Otherwise, give yourself peace of mind and your colleague the respect he/she deserves regardless if they love quality time or not. And if there is no purpose to your meeting, please cancel it. Time is precious especially in a 7.5-8 hour work day.

Sipping on decaf caramel swirl coffee at my new spot, Coffee Grounds in Branford, CT. Highly recommend their paleo treats :)


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