Connect with your team

In a busy work environment, you may find it challenging to connect with your team in a meaningful way. Using these ideas and activities, it takes just minutes a day to make a positive connection.

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Why this matters

Taking time to connect with your team on more than a superficial level can: 

  • Help create trust and loyalty
  • Boost team morale and resilience
  • Build stronger relationships
  • Identify challenges before they become problems
  • Reduce the negative impact of stress in the workplace

Get to know your team members 

Convey genuine interest in them as individuals

Employees as experts on themselves

It sounds obvious, but most of us are experts when it comes to our own lives. We’ve seen ourselves through good times and bad times, and we often have a good sense of what makes us feel better or what makes us feel worse.

When employees appear to be struggling, ask, “What would be helpful to you right now?”

By learning about each employee individually, you’ll be much more effective in connecting with your team. Make a point of touching base with each employee who works under your supervision. Ask them if there’s anything you could do to help them or improve the way they do their job. Record each suggestion, no matter how small or simple, that you may not have thought of on your own. Be sure to thank them for those ideas.

Doing this exercise routinely with each employee can help prepare you to act when one of them is emotionally distressed. Rather than trying to gather all this information during a stressful time, you’ll have built a base of knowledge in advance.  

Some tools that can help you to develop a better understanding of each employee include:

Create a positive team culture

Negative talk can be highly destructive of morale and easily leads to stress and conflict in the workplace.

Positive talk, on the other hand, can have just as strong a beneficial effect including Strengthening relationships.

Spreading positive talk is a simple leadership strategy. Just slip a compliment about work performance or a comment of respect or gratitude about an employee into a conversation when they’re not there. Keep it short and simple so it’s easy to pass along. 

Whoever you were speaking about will likely soon hear the uplifting comment. Don’t be over the top with your praise, as it won’t sound genuine and may be mistaken for favouritism. Try to ensure you include all of your team members equally in your positive talk over time.

There are a number of important benefits to spreading positive talk, including: 

  • Leading by example and encouraging team members to also speak highly of their colleagues.
  • Letting employees know how you speak about people when they’re not present.
  • Motivating employees to perform in ways that might elicit the same words of praise from you about them.
  • Reducing negative gossip.
  • Contributing to a positive organizational culture.

The main objective is for you to lead by example. Once you’ve done this and you feel like your team is ready, you may want to involve your team in a discussion about their contribution to positive workplace culture. Putting organizational culture on the agenda provides you with slides, guides and handouts to help you do this with your team.

Take action

Choose any of the ideas from above or any of the Team building activities to begin to make positive connections.

Contributors include.articlesMary Ann Baynton

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