True, genuine connection is the fundamental key to a successful business relationship. Both, within the office & outside of it. Fail to connect with your team members, and suffer the consequences. That even exposes the company to many risks – attrition, disengagement, dissatisfaction, etc.
Thus creating a connection with employees is crucial to success across the board. Here are eight ways how managers and leaders can forge connections with their teams.
1. Listen, Listen, Listen
The most powerful way to build any relationship is to become an attentive & empathetic listener. This applies to not just professional relationships but also personal ones. If you know a thing or two about Emotional Intelligence (EI), you’ve already got an advantage.
Closing your mouth and opening your ears to your employee concerns is good (and smart) for business. By being a coach and accountability partner for employees, you can avoid many metaphorical icebergs by simply asking a team member how they’re doing! This may lead to them opening up about some work struggles they’re having. Or, on the flip side, you can extract a few insights that could help improve your management style or business plans.
2. Keep Them Happy
The fact that the majority of the workforce feels unhappy at their stations should worry any team manager. That pessimism in the office is costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars in lost productivity.
So, as a team manager, consider incorporating ways to boost morale across your team. Host regular get-togethers, reach out to team members who seem like they’re struggling, applaud a job well done. All these things can help cast a smile across any team member’s face.
3. Earn Their Trust
For employees & managers to work well together, a shared baseline of trust needs to exist. If that is not the case, then it’s hard to get anything done.
However, there are numerous things managers can do, that can help build trust between them and their team members. Having an open-door policy, following through with feedback, willingness to ask for help from your team when needed, and doing gestures of gratitude all help to establish a sense of trust among the stakeholders.
4. Give Useful Feedback, Don’t Sugarcoat
While we’re on the topic of giving feedback, team managers should aim to be concise, effective, and empathetic when conveying any team member’s performance. Millennials, for example, statistically loathe performance reviews for these very reasons: they feel like they’re a waste of time, not focused, and lacking usable personal information. Ditch the gimmicks and start giving your team members, especially your younger ones, meaningful work reviews; it’ll make the relationship better in the long run.
5. Help Them Reach Their Goals
Actively aiding the success of your team members is a phenomenal way to not only connect with them but also to build lasting bonds. As a team manager, design the work environment that stimulates growth and the yearning to achieve.
Meet with teams, in one-on-one sessions and group settings, to eke out each person’s and cohort’s goals. Then, knowing those milestones, see how you can play a role in helping your team achieve them. A stagnate, lethargic office is bad for business and everyone’s well-being so avoid creating such an environment at all costs.
6. Be Willing to Fail, Ask for Help
That’s right: Sometimes, being a good, well-connected leader means inevitably failing somewhere along the road. No one’s perfect, after all. And showing this level of vulnerability, as Dr. Brene Brown has shown through her research, is key to creating and sustaining meaningful relationships and trust between teams.
The same can also be said about asking for help. Research shows that people who ask for help when they know they need it are actually perceived as strong individuals. Consider deflecting a few tasks of yours amongst your team to help instill a sense of purpose in their roles, while also freeing up your to-do list.
7. Set Boundaries
Coincidentally enough, people who lack boundaries— personal, professional, or otherwise —aren’t trusted as much as those who do have a healthy amount of them. So, while it’s always good to chat about day-to-day personal happenings at work, the adage still holds: Leave your personal life at home. If not, it could cost you strong connections with your team members.
8. Lead by Example
The last tip on this list shouldn’t come as a surprise to any solid, well-rounded team manager. But, if it is: Houston, we have a problem. Model to your team the person you strive to be. They, therefore will sense that and try to lead with their best foot forward. This, too, can be accomplished every day by doing things like random acts of kindness, being patient with people, setting high goals, and achieving them. Employees feel connected when they are led with empathy – to their team, organization, and their future.