When was the last time you went out to lunch together?

“Once a month, go to lunch with someone who knows more about your business than you do.” Author H Jackson Brown.

Working days are getting longer and there is pressure on business decision-makers to make every minute of the day count. Lunch is for wimps, right?

That is not true if you want to build trust, team spirit and connect to fellow executives and staff in a meaningful way.

Lunch is for leaders. Two of the most important attributes leaders need to demonstrate to their teams are competence and warmth. You undoubtedly get the best out of people not just by being super-efficient and skilled, but also by building authentic working relationships that help build trust.

Taking time out of your working day to fully engage is a solid investment in a strong working relationship.

Let’s face it, most people open up and relax more when they are eating in a restaurant or canteen while making general conversation. This doesn’t have to be idle chit-chat. Taking time to breathe, relax and chat can throw up all sorts of workplace opinions, thoughts, ideas and anecdotes you might otherwise miss out on.

A crucial tool in a business leader’s box is intelligence from the sharp end of the organisation. No matter how many staff focus groups, appraisals, board meetings and other structured methods you use, it is sometimes hard to get to grips with what your team is really thinking and feeling. It is only by spending time with them that you can start getting behind what is being said in more formal environments.

Over lunch they could feel on an equal level with you, and are able to be more honest and open.

Even if the conversation is about last night’s television or Donald Trump’s latest exploits, that time spent chatting over lunch is an investment in revitalising your team, making them feel appreciated and listened to.

If you treat people like robots, then that’s what you will get. If you connect with them on a personal level, and make them feel valued, then you build loyalty and commitment, two things that only come to executives who earn it.

St Andrews Consulting develops teams and develops people, helping them to find their full potential, and we know how important it is to be able to show both competence and warmth. If you want to know more about this, then we would be happy to take you to lunch one day!