Remember how difficult and awkward you felt when you broke up with your significant other? Standing still, hands in your pocket, you struggle to find the right words to say. You silently wish things would have worked out, that the time and effort spent building the relationship wouldn’t slip into memory.
This frustration can be just as difficult in the professional setting. Letting an employee go is an internal problem that happens to many strong and dedicated teams, especially for startups and small businesses. Besides the emotional tension, the time and effort it takes to search and train the next replacement can be just as stressful and costly.
As project head, you want to keep the best people in your team working together through trials and triumphs. You want to ensure that everyone is happy working with one another, despite their individual differences.
Above all, you want to see the project succeed with the very people you’ve started out and built relationships with.
With this in mind, how do you build and nurture long-lasting relationships with your team? What can you do to ensure that everyone feels right at home when working with you?
While many would tell you that professionalism and neutrality is the way to go, having good and healthy interactions with the people you work with is just as essential for a business to thrive. Work becomes more enjoyable, suggestions and ideas are better received, and every team member can be as creative and innovative.
Let’s take a look at five secrets to a long-lasting relationship with your team and how to develop these as you steadily work together to grow your product and your business.
A light and hearty working environment is ideal if you want to build a strong relationship with your team. Well, what better way to encourage this than a good sense of humor?
Laughter has always been regarded as life’s “best medicine” with countless benefits for both the mind and heart. More interesting are its social benefits, which affect us in two ways:
- Laughter triggers positive feelings and nurtures emotional connections, thus strengthening our relationships with the people around us.
- Laughter enables us to forgive and let go of resentments, disagreements, and other negative feelings towards others.
It makes sense then that fun and laughter would thrive within the team as this allows everyone to relax, enjoy each day at the office, and communicate freely and comfortably with one another.
In the workplace: Share a funny story, crack a joke, watch a hilarious YouTube video, or set up a mini tournament or game session with your team. Table tennis, anyone?
Trust is vital in any relationship, whether it’s with a co-worker or a loved one. In the workplace, a lack of trust towards your boss or your team is a sure invitation for conflict, argument, and disappointment.
A key component to trust is honesty. It’s being transparent in everything you do and say, even if it means speaking out or going against the majority.
Though there will be friction, this keeps you and your each of your team members from harbouring resentment towards one another. In return, your team will feel more inclined to talk to you and share with you their ideas or concerns, giving you the opportunity to prevent critical problems from getting in the way of the project’s progress.
In the workplace: In every meeting, invite each of your team members to share their thoughts, opinion, and ideas about the agenda at hand. Make sure to note down each person’s suggestions, whether on a whiteboard for everyone to see or in a note that you can share with others.
A Listening Ear
Even more important is showing your team that you are a leader who listens to what they have to say.
Oftentimes we assert ourselves by speaking before the other person finishes, leaving him feeling less inclined to participate and more hesitant to work hand-in-hand with the team.
By listening attentively, you become more sensitive to the needs of your team members and are able to come up with solutions that benefit everyone. It also positions you as someone deserving of one’s attention and respect, and so your team will willingly listen to you whenever you need to instruct or make an announcement.
In the workplace: Before voicing out your thoughts and ideas, acknowledge that you understand or see the other person’s point of view. This assures him that you give value to what he says, making him more receptive to you.
An Open Mind
Take things a step further by actually considering and implementing some of your team’s best suggestions and ideas into the work. Not only does this nurture trust and respect in others, it allows you to discover possibilities that can move the project forward.
While not all ideas may be considered, having an open mind positions you as someone who is easy to work with. Your team will appreciate this and be just as enthusiastic to work with your ideas.
In the workplace: Create a list of feedback and suggestions, and assign each person to his or her own ideas. You can then narrow down the list based on a particular criteria, such as the project scope and capabilities of the team.
There’s no such thing as a perfect team or company where everyone simply enters the workplace and does his job.
Challenges and difficulties are bound to happen, such as a loved one who passed away or a conflict at home, and so it’s important to know when and how to show empathy to your team in times of trouble. In other words, be willing to offer sympathy, compassion, and understanding to others when needed.
In the workplace: Express genuine concern and compassion. If someone approaches you with a problem and needs the week off, understand her situation and do your best to give her that week to sort out her situation. Encourage her to keep the team posted and that you’d be more than happy to have her back.
Behind every successful project is a strong and dedicated team who works hand-in-hand with one another. With these 5 valuable secrets in mind, dedicate yourself to building long-lasting relationships with every member of your team. This opens doors to productivity, creativity, and innovation that wouldn’t have been possible in a sterile working environment devoid of human interaction and progress.
Let’s turn things over to you now. As project head, what do you do to build strong relationships with your team? Let us know in the comments below.
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