So you are frustrated with your direct reports. You can’t seem to get to the bottom of their gossiping and slacking off at work. You have talked to each one separately and no one is willing to say what is really going on.
Pattern Interrupt is the way to go.
Normally you call together a team and ask “what is going on” and you do the same thing with the individuals to no avail.
Open the discussion with food. Yup. Food. Did you know that “breaking bread” together is one of the oldest rituals on the planet? And use music. Yes. Music.
Ready to see how it works. Set up a lunch meeting with your crew. Do NOT tell them what it is about. Just set the date and time (Hint: it needs to be within a day or two of the email.) Let them stew and talk with each other and let them worry. If they ask what the reason is simply respond “Just a time to talk.”
Have fun food. The obvious? Pizza of course. You can spread it out to be international. Have tacos and egg rolls and even pirogues and hummus with veggies.
Now for the music. Let it be in the background. Did you know there has never been a culture on this earth that did not have music? You can use songs from today, say Katie Perry or Miley in her grown up songs. You can go back to the Beetles or hey, have Pavarotti blasting out his famous song (Nessun Dorma) about courage. Use that very popular song from Frozen, “Let it go.”
Hey… YOU can have some fun putting this pattern breaking lunch together. Not all work has to be serious.
Now, when you start the lunch session simply say “I just think we need to connect in new ways and this is a beginning.” That is it!!!! Then let them figure out what it is all about.
Ask for suggestions to be sent to you via email or tell them to set a time to talk one-one. I promise someone will break the old ways of communicating and offer some suggestions on how to get along at work better. Let me know how it works for you at work.