You may be asking, “Why do I have to build team rapport when I have a professional working relationship with my employees? I’m setting goals, and we’re meeting targets. Isn’t that enough?”
The short answer is NO. You shouldn’t be simply a results-oriented manager, delegating tasks and ensuring the completion of projects within budgets and deadlines. You should also be responsible for understanding your direct reports’ motivations, help them grow, motivate and coach them, and mentor them to meet their career goals. That way, you can help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
When you make an effort to build team rapport, you boost engagement in the workplace and increase employee loyalty while reducing staff turnover. When you provide a better employee experience and encourage a collaborative culture, you can also make even the most introverted individuals step up and share their ideas. In addition, you may see increased productivity from otherwise disengaged employees when they realize you’re genuinely interested in them.
Ready to build team rapport? Follow these tips and techniques to strengthen the bond between your team, boost morale and productivity, and improve employee satisfaction and retention.
1. Reveal your human side
Some managers switch off their passions and interests when they’re at work. However, this approach may disconnect you from your team. When you concentrate only on driving results and getting things done, you may create a sense of unease among your employees. Your staff needs to see that you care about each of them — and not just their working hours and output.
2. Talk beyond work
If you only talk about tasks and deliverables with your employees, expect them to keep their guard up around you. But if you reach out to your team and ask about their interests, hobbies, families, and personal ambitions, you’ll create a more relaxed environment.
3. Share your failures
If your employees think you’re perfect, they might hide their mistakes for fear of getting reprimanded, or worse, getting fired. When they hide their mistakes from you, this may lead to bigger problems in the long run. It can also cost you an opportunity to show them how to learn from their mistakes. When you reveal your weaknesses, you also reveal yourself as human. This will make your team feel safe enough to share their slip-ups with you. Then together, you can work to find solutions.
4. Create a collaborative and flexible work environment
If your employees find it difficult to interact and share ideas with their colleagues, there are several things you can do. Firstly, create a safe atmosphere where people can freely share ideas and ask for help without the fear of being judged. What’s more, by welcoming input and feedback from all levels, you can encourage reluctant individuals to be confident and express their opinions. Another thing you can do is to create an environment of trust and recognition by acknowledging collaborative behavior through rewards. Also, make sure to emphasize the importance of every role and share stories of how the entire team benefits from sharing knowledge.
You can also create a culture of engagement by giving your employees work flexibility. Such a degree of freedom to choose their hours, location, and how to complete their tasks and meet goals shows that you trust them and believe they’re competent. When you give your employees more time and space to cater to their personal needs, you increase their job satisfaction and productivity.
This is particularly true for working parents. They already juggle a lot, and in most cases, they’re capable of doing that. So, by giving them a flexible work environment, you empower working moms and dads to balance their home and work lives without compromising any commitments.
5. Build a Culture of Listening
Active listening can help you build strong relationships within your team. When you give the person speaking your full attention and let them finish what they’re saying without interruptions and judgment, you encourage openness and trust. More than that, you mitigate miscommunication and conflict, producing a healthier atmosphere of sharing and problem-solving.
6. Take the Lead
While it’s important to reveal your human side and share personal interests to encourage your team to open up, it’s not your job to be everyone’s best friend. Because of that, it’s also vital to set boundaries and not indulge in office gossip or workplace politics. Instead, behave in a manner that inspires trust and confidence. You can accomplish this by communicating your expectations clearly and effectively. Thanks to that, your team members will value the importance of their contribution. Lastly, take the initiative to recognize employees with experiences from previous leadership roles and open opportunities to influence others in the organization positively.