What is a Team Temperature Check

A team temperature check is a management process you can use to assess the perception of the team so you can more effectively and appropriately act and communicate as a leader in a way that creates camaraderie and cohesion.

Why perform a Team Temperature Check

It’s important to perform a team temperature check because it allows you to stay ahead of the curve of workplace culture challenges that may be waiting to make their appearance. It also allows you an opportunity to connect with your team and make them feel seen within the work context. Without a regular check-in, the workplace can quite often create a sense of being unknown for employees and therefore uncared about even in cases where the leadership is otherwise regularly engaged.

By taking a Team Temperature Check you are specifically creating a space of being known for your employees, a small act that can have hugely positive consequences.

When to use the Team Temperature Check 

The Team Temperature Check is a process to be used when your team is in an operational place. Meaning there are no major challenges or workplace culture failures and misses. This is not a process to use when it’s clear that many people are upset, your team is confrontational, or in conflict.

A temperature check is not a daily check-in rather it’s best used at most on a weekly basis, less if needed.

You may also base check-in needs on a full team’s need, or on an individual’s needs.

Particularly, in times of high-delivery expectations or high-stress situations, the Team Temperature Check is a powerful way to help you manage the team and keep them feeling motivated in that challenging setting. If you have the sense that a particular person feels unknown this quick effort on your part can help turn that person’s experience on its head and save you massive heartache down the road!

Without the Team Temperature Check

How often have you asked someone on your team, “How are you doing?” with the intent of looking for ways you can help that individual perform better, up their mood, or even out of actual care and concern only to get one of the following responses:

“Fine.”
“Good.”
“Eh.”
“Not too bad.”
“Alright.”
“Fair to middle.”
“Another day in paradise.”
“Livin’ the dream.”

As a leader, these are not the types of responses that will empower you. Mostly they provide a space to reply with little more than an acknowledging nod or a simple “Nice.” and you get no insight into what’s really going on with that person.

So how can you really find out how your team is doing, being, and feeling in a way that’s meaningful?

Consider Using Our “3.5 Question Team Temperature Check”

Question 1 – On a scale of 1-10 how are you doing this week?

Note, usually…

  • 7 is the most common answer.  And is a true measure of “fine.”  Not lovin’ it, not hatin’ it.
  • Less than 7 = danger Will Robinson.
  • More than 7 – score!

Question 1.5 – What contributes to that number?

Question 2 – What could make it one point higher?

  • Then talk through what’s needed to make that happen – from them, from you, from the team.
  • Heads up – here is where you will usually learn if their response was based on personal, professional or a combination.  If it’s a personal challenge, simply demonstrate compassion and empathy, while still holding them accountable to professional goals.

Question 3 – If higher or lower than last time, ask “Last time you said you were X, and now you’re Y, what made the difference?”

If the answer is the same, was there follow through on action items from last time?  *Keep in mind there can be diligent follow-through and new circumstances affecting the number.

Do you have elephants in your workplace?

What are elephants? These are 23 of the most toxic dangers that destroy workplace culture.

If the scores of your temperature check are lower than 7…

Trust us, this starting list is something you absolutely want to work through to see what’s there, right now >

This process has multiple advantages:

  • You’re able to quickly ascertain morale progress or decline.
  • Once this process becomes a habit, your team will be thoughtful in their response to you.
  • You’ll notice your team will begin to own their number, as well as their role in creating it.  People become accountable to their own answer.
  • Question two allows for solutioning and improving without blame.
  • Hypocrisy becomes incredibly self-evident if they tell you an “8” and then turnaround and kvetch to their co-worker.
  • You will learn about the specific challenges facing the individuals on your team – both professional as well as personal.
  • You will learn about their successes and where things are working and be able to expand on them.

Caveats to make this work: 

  • Keep in mind that someone’s 6 is someone else’s 7. We all have different expectations.  The point is not the number, but rather the why behind it.
  • Don’t ask to ask – ask because you genuinely want to know.
  • Be fully attentive when you ask and listen to the answers.
  • While this process is wonderfully efficient – don’t make it a “fly by.”
  • Know that when you ask you will likely walk away with one or two action items.
  • Follow through on those action items.
  • Have them share with you follow-through on their action items.
  • Sometimes no action is required – and you just need to hold space (have empathy and compassion) for someone going through a tough time.
  • Be prepared to answer these same questions when asked of you.

Click below to learn how to handle other team challenges that impact your culture and your bottom line.

Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace is your reference guide and an extraordinary resource chock full of culture transforming – actionable insights and tangible tools that you’ll never want to leave your desk.