Many employee events aim to improve collaboration and make it more effective. Collective experiences or concrete meeting methods should help improve this, although a smooth running team also depends highly upon individual and personal factors. Do you get on well with one another and work well with the current working methods and approaches? How can you tackle this delicate yet important issue in the context of employee events? Easy: with anxiety parties!
The majority of meeting methods focus on a project goal and provide rules for how to behave in the working environment. You are not allowed to criticize, do not interrupt and so on and so forth. Subjects that are almost always neglected are the individual personalities of the employees and the very individual team climate. However the way in which someone behaves with colleagues or with a project, under stress and challenges, are important aspects within a good (or bad) working team! But how should one address this without insulting or affecting others? Anxiety parties offer a good solution to support colleagues with their personal and team development.
What are anxiety parties?
A Google Ventures team developed this method to optimize their own team work and to receive better feedback within the team. In a nut shell, it is about telling the team your personal worries, fears or apprehensions rather than them telling you. “Sometimes I think that I’m not a good team player”, “I’m afraid I’m too critical or negative”, “On my projects maybe I concentrate a bit too much on the design and not enough on the concept?”. Because I am offering the points of criticism I will be more open to feedback and won’t feel attacked. In addition, this method may also confirm that your fears are just in your head.
How do anxiety parties work?
Everyone has 10 minutes to write down their biggest concerns about their own behavior in the work place on a piece of paper. Then you have 2 minutes to sort them by order of severity: What concerns me the most, what concerns me the least? Where appropriate, the number of anxieties addressed can be limited.
After this you sit down with a colleague and share one of your concerns with them. Your colleague will then rate it with a number between 0 and 5. Zero meaning that they have never noticed that concern and it’s not a problem at all. Five meaning that your colleague also has this concern about you and you should look to work on it immediately. After both have named and assessed their main concerns, you move to the next chair to assess the next colleague. Depending on the group size, this activity can take up to 90 minutes.
Who are anxiety parties suitable for?
These method meetings are not suitable for groups who have real problems with one another or where there is a high level of competition. There should at least be a neutral mood in the team. If this method is applied in the work place or at a team event once or twice a year, it can lead to more openness, confidence and changeability, and can significantly improve teamwork.