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There are numerous reasons why building authentic relationships with employees is important, and there are multiple ways to do it. When management builds genuine relationships with employees centered on mutual trust and respect, employee and team morale, creativity, and collaboration increase. Moreover, companies can expect increased employee engagement and satisfaction— leading to higher employee retention and productivity. Ultimately, a workplace will reap many benefits when there is a focus on building healthy, authentic relationships with employees.
In this post, we discuss some areas company leaders can focus on to build authentic relationships with employees, including:
- Understanding how your team thinks and acts
- Listening to your team and having an open mind
- Championing your team's goals and communicating them
- Celebrating differences and embracing the uniqueness of others
Listen & Understand Your Team
As a leader, you’re responsible for enabling and empowering your team. Therefore, you need to understand what your team needs to be successful and achieve their defined goals. Understanding what your team needs to succeed involves understanding the team’s group identity. While part of the greater organization, every team creates its own sub-culture by standardizing a series of methods and processes in which work is organized and completed.
To fully understand your team’s group identity and find out what the team needs to be successful, it’s important to give your employees a forum to provide their thoughts and insights. This may come in the form of regular check-ins or surveys, or by encouraging ad hoc feedback with an ‘Open Door’ policy. It may seem simple, but it’s important for your team’s success.
I understand it may not be natural for you to just sit back and listen. Leaders often have Type A personalities, and that Type A personality can sometimes make listening difficult. Understand that it can also be difficult for your employees. Individuals with Type A personalities are confident and can sometimes be seen as aggressive. You don’t want this perception to discourage your team members from talking to you. When conversing with an employee, it’s a best practice to wait until they are done speaking so you can process the whole story and respond.
Create a Culture of Belonging
Championing your team’s goals and inspiring your team toward a common purpose is vital. Your employees will be more motivated when expectations are clearly defined and when everyone on the team knows their specific role in achieving those shared goals. This fosters an environment of unity and confidence. Unity is fostered because everyone knows their role and can rely on each other to accomplish tasks, and confidence is fostered because of mutual trust in achieving goals as a unit.
A culture of belonging will make it easier to achieve goals. Not everyone on the same team will come from the same background and it’s important to embrace the uniqueness of each of your employees. Even while your employees are unified and working towards goals collectively, preferences will differ regarding how each individual approaches tasks. Of course, some behaviors are not suitable for the workplace. Employees can’t show up an hour late for work every day or turn in projects days late. But, if your employees don’t feel they can be themselves in their work, you may risk breaking the trust you have developed and maintained on the team.
Recap & What’s Next
If you read this and feel great about how everything is going with your team, I hope this has been a great reminder of these principles. If you read this and noticed a few gaps in your team structure or are struggling with your team culture, don’t stress about it any longer. Today is the day to get started and make some changes. I encourage you to start that ‘Open Door’ policy if you don’t have it. It’s important to give your employees an avenue to be open and honest and provide constructive feedback about gaps in processes or concerns with team morale. In my experience, those are two areas that truly affect a team's success.
Please take a few minutes and leave a comment sharing some of your best practices for building authentic relationships, or leave any questions you have. Let's help each other by providing the best environment for our teams.
Next week, we will review marketing trends for this year. Marketing strategy moves and changes at the speed of light, and it’s important to stay up-to-date regarding what’s happening in the marketing world.
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