As leaders, we feel pressures every day—pressure to meet sales goals, pressure to maintain customers and pressure to meet C-suite expectations, among others.

What if you could increase your team’s performance by up to seven times its current level? Would this help you reach your goals and manage those pressures? Of course, it would. Sound too good to be true? It’s achievable, according to executive coach Jason Treu.

In yesterday’s issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we shared Treu’s secret to employee engagement—trust. He also said trust is achieved by creating a sense of caring—through belonging and sharing.

In today’s PCT, we’ll provide some of Treu’s recommended exercises to build trust across your team. These are simple, fun and designed for any size team or organization. Give them a try.

1. Ask every person to bring a picture at the beginning of a weekly meeting. Give each person 30 seconds to say why they picked the picture and what it means to them. You’ll see engagement and productivity rise immediately in the meeting. You can also do that by asking people to bring in three pictures: One of themselves as a kid, one of them with friends/family and one of them doing an activity they love.

Why does this work? Treu says that pictures evoke strong emotions in human beings and create instant connections. They also initiate an instant boost of serotonin and oxytocin, which are connection-building hormones. Pictures also capture people’s attention (and there is less chance listeners will get distracted if listening to a story alone). Pictures also evoke associations in people’s minds to things they have done, experienced or just heard about.

2. Put a bowl in a central location, such as the kitchen, and ask the team to drop in questions for a later interactive team exercise. Then, go around the room and ask everyone to answer one question in one minute. The leader should go first and share something vulnerable. Or, go around the room and have each person share the one-minute in his or her life they would like to relive. Give everyone 60 seconds to share what that moment was and why it matters to them. This exercise brings out the most important moments for people and gives them an effective way to share it.

3. For a fun exercise, try something like an “airband” or “hairband” performance activity. Invite team members to act out and lip sync their favorite song. Give them a week to prepare and then have them perform it. Get creative with costumes, props, etc. At the end, have them share why they picked that song. Was it because of a specific experience or memory?

4. Try a memory wall exercise. Ask team members draw pictures or share photos of a meaningful and positive time/experience they have had at work. This activity gets them to share positive memories about the organization and focus on the things that are going well. Afterwards, post the pictures or photos on a wall to share them and extend the good feelings from the positive work memories.

Treu has also designed a game called Cards Against Mundanity that provides a set of team-engaging questions based on two years of research and testing with many organizations. His cards are available for download here.

Give these “Treu”-tested tips a try in your organization to build trust and engagement across your teams.

Source: Jason Treu coaches executives and their managers to be great leaders and build exceptionally productive teams.