Bringing your team back into the fold? Try Huddling!

Bringing your team back into the fold?  Try Huddling!

By Karen Amos

Through all the uncertainty, there’s a prevailing need to get teams back on track.  Whether your teams are working remotely, back in-house or a mixture of the two – no matter, you will need to take considered action to address the current and future challenges.  Teams rarely perform well by default.

I’ve written extensively about the benefits of Team Coaching as a powerful, effective tool to address team issues and performance. (Check out my blog Team Coaching - What is it and how can it help?)  Whilst this can bring excellent organisational outcomes, it works best over a course of several weeks/months to bring long-lasting change and progress.

So what about Huddles?

Huddles (similar to Scrums in Agile working) are very short, frequent team meetings.  The purpose and format can be as flexible as you need it to be, which makes it a perfect tool to bring together geographically dispersed, or new/re-forming teams.

In a previous management role, I was responsible for a diverse and predominantly part-time workforce.  The consequence was that some people had no idea what was going on in the organisation on a day-to-day basis, how other projects were progressing and what the implications were on their own work.  We set up daily, very time-limited huddles to update everyone, with the intention that people would attend on their working days.  It was paperwork-light and people/solution-focused.

Here's our quick guide to Huddling…

What’s the purpose?

'Whatever you need', is the short answer.  The general purpose is to have a relatively structured check-in/update for the team on a regular basis.  These shouldn’t be confused with team meetings.  It’s important to have a clear purpose for your Huddle, or it will just become a ‘talking shop’ or ‘moan-fest’.

Examples could be to:

  • Have a regular general progress update
  • Share successes
  • Identify bumps in the road and seek solutions
  • Share project critical updates

What are the benefits of Huddling?

Many managers are reporting that they are struggling to find the right amount of contact with their teams.  During lockdown, they had contact several times a week with their staff, checking on wellbeing as much as workload and progress.  Over time however, many staff are saying they’re fine and don’t need so much contact.  This runs the risk of some members becoming isolated.

Here are a few ways Huddles can help:

  • Help part-timers and staff working from home to be updated and included in what’s going on
  • Replace the impromptu 'watercooler' conversations that are missing with homeworking
  • Allow sharing of more subjective information and updates within the team that may not normally be included in more formal communications
  • Generate team support and understanding – it’s easier to be understanding if you’re dealing with people face-to-face on a regular basis, even if that’s on video calls
  • Up to date progress reports help shape more responsive actions and build motivation and accountability
  • Opportunity to share wins as well as challenges

Are there any pitfalls and challenges to Huddles?

Absolutely! As mentioned above, Huddles should not turn into just another talking shop or protracted team meeting.  Good facilitation and commitment is needed to ensure consistent attendance, time management and that everyone sticks to the agreed purposes.

In the case of large teams, you may choose to split these to keep the Huddles short.  The split could be per project, working days, or just with a diverse mix of staff.  Whatever works for you.

We all know that person who hogs the limelight right?  If you have someone who regularly takes over,  I’d suggest this is objective evidence for a manager to give some constructive feedback in their next one-to-one.  This allows opportunity for some coaching on improving communication skills and relationships with the wider team.

There’s also a need for continued commitment from all team members.  There are likely to be some people who claim they don’t see the point, but again, this is an opportunity to build a more inclusive and supportive organisational culture. I’d suggest a coaching conversation about what they do need, but also how they can support other people in their team.

Hopefully this has given you a positive tool to bring your staff teams back into the fold.  Click HERE if you’d like to find out more about Huddles and some practical ways to implement them.

For an informal, no-obligation chat about how we can help you, call us on 07714 855757, or email

Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports business owners and managers who are feeling the pressure, to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a practical, down-to-earth approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships.