Tackle It Together

Tips for a great Team-Building Conversation

Andrea Joy Wenburg

“How are we doing?”

Uh…you’ve asked this before, but what do you mean? It seems to me we are doing fine.

“I just want to be sure we are moving forward. If we aren’t moving forward, we are moving backward and I don’t want to do that. Are we getting to know each other better?”

My husband, Aaron, made a point to ask how we were doing every week when we were dating. I’m pretty sure that only a week or two of this went by before I was sure I wanted to marry the guy. I mean, really. This is one intentional dude — my kind of person. When he called us “The A-Team,” the deal was sealed. I wanted to be a part of this self-aware team. Definitely.

But it’s not easy to keep up the awareness or the team-ness when life gets going. We haven’t always wanted to ask “how are we doing?” because we haven’t always wanted to face the answer. And then the longer we go without asking the question, the more we resist it for fear of the unknown — or the assumed known.

We haven’t always wanted to ask “how are we doing?” because we haven’t always wanted to face the answer.

Thankfully, somewhere deep down, we both believe we are individually OK and that together we can get through whatever life throws at us. After 10 years of being in this relationship, we have a better feel for how to navigate the sometimes dreaded “How are we doing?” question. Here are some things we try to keep in mind — perhaps something here would be helpful for you and your team, too.

Tips for the “How are we doing?” Team-Building Conversation

  • Let the main goal of the conversation be to move closer to each other. If my goal is to convince or defend, I may as well not have the conversation.
  • It can be spontaneous and short or planned and long. The goal for timing is to have the conversation when emotional energy is peaceful — whenever that may be.
  • Be ready to listen without being defensive. How? Remember that you do not need the other person to love or respect or understand you (though it is hard and sad if they don’t!), because you know you are already loved and respected and understood by the only One who can do it perfectly. If that’s covered, you can live to give rather than live to take — even in tough conversations.
  • Be silly. Somehow, someway, be silly.
  • Try to end with some kind of a plan in place. Problem solving is one of the best team-building activities EVER. It feels great to know where we are headed and what steps we are each going to take to get there.
The A-Team

What’s your team name?

How you doin’?

*For more on being OK and knowing you don’t need someone else to make you feel OK, bop on over here: When I Should Feel Joy #4: True Love

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Originally published at andreajoywenburg.com on January 28, 2015.

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