Happy Valentine's Day!
Today I'm sharing 3 tips on how to deepen your very special workplace relationships (and yes, you can try this at home).
One of the things that makes teams thrive is when members can truly lean in to each person’s unique strengths. This supports each person in contributing at their highest level and making the biggest impact!
And yet, in my work with teams at all levels, I see time and again that we often don’t go far enough in understanding each other’s uniqueness and strengths, and therefore, we are not taking advantage of all the wonderful wisdom that exists on our teams. We worry that we will ask the wrong question, offend someone, or otherwise cross that invisible boundary known as being professional.
But part of the human condition is that we want to be known, understood, and appreciated. When we feel these things, we know we are safe to be ourselves, experiment, and take risks.
This is known as psychological safety, and it is a requirement for healthy relationships—at home or at work. So while I don’t want you to offend anyone or cross any lines… I’ll bet you have room to explore with many of your team members!
Here are 3 powerful and effective ways to get started:
1) Get curious! Ask one more question.
In everyday conversation we often miss opportunities to dig a little deeper, stay a little longer, and express just a little more interest. We get distracted, uncomfortable, judgmental, or simply bored. We need to train our minds to stay present and curious. Today, ask one more curious question.
• Follow “how are you?” with “what’s one special thing that has happened for you this week?”
• Say, “tell me something that I don’t already know,” or “I have never asked you about where you grew up. I’d love to know more if you are comfortable sharing.”
• Ask for feedback. Try, “what can I do to make your job easier?”
Then, listen whole-heartedly to the answers. These small “openings” can create space for a relationship to flourish.
2) Do some team building!
You don’t have to put on a blindfold or fall into each other’s arms to build your team. Just doing something side-by-side like hiking or volunteering can create plenty of opportunities for getting to know each other. I’m also a big fan of assessments! An assessment can not only help you discover each other through a new lens, it can reduce friction on your team and help you work better together moving forward. (Please let me know if you are interested in this—I’d love to help.)
3) Have a “growth conversation” with each of your team members.
Now and then, it’s important to pause and ask each of your team members about their future goals. Our visions and plans constantly evolve, so having these conversations periodically can be really helpful. Here are a few starter questions:
• “How would you like to grow this year?”
• “What would you like to be doing this year to prepare for a future role you might want?”
• “What part of your job brings you the most energy and fulfillment?”
• “What part of your job is most frustrating for you?”
• “Is there something outside your current role that you’d like to try?”
• “Are there any areas where you’re feeling stuck?”
• “How can I make work better for you?”
Taking time to ask—and really listen—to your people about what they want out of life can be a wonderful way to connect.
You are special!
P.S. Work should be connected and meaningful, and it’s my life’s mission to make it so! While the tips above will certainly get you started, becoming a COACHING MANAGER is a “power practice” that will enhance your leadership and your team’s effectiveness. Being a skillful coach will help you build connection with your team members, build belonging, and get break-through results! Join me for my once per year class called Coaching for Excellence. It starts March 28, and early bird pricing ENDS on Feb 24!
Learn more here: https://www.clairelaughlin.com/coaching-for-excellence-LIVE