Building Strong Relationships With Your Team
Focus on the things that matter
We spend the majority of our time working. So building great relationships with our work colleagues can make our life more enjoyable. Strong workplace relationships can also promote team cohesion and improve overall productivity and performance. More comfortable team members are often more vocal about their opinions, which can surface innovative new ideas. They are often also stronger advocates for your business outside of the workplace. On our podcast, The Everyday Leader, many managers have shared about their experiences, both difficult and rewarding, in their efforts to build strong relationships within their teams. Here are three tips from our guests to help you along the journey:
Share more of yourself: Authenticity as a leader counts when building relationships with your team. Rather than worrying about what you sound like, allow yourself to be vulnerable with your team. Share more information about your career journey and the hurdles you had to overcome along the way. Talk to them about the mistakes you made and how you went about recovering from them. Work on naturally building relationships with your team by working alongside them every now and then: Hillary Sang shared about a habit he developed in making sure he spends time sitting alongside his lowest-level staff and doing their same tasks to build empathy and strong connections.
Over-communicate: To achieve results through others, leaders must develop effective communication skills. You must learn to manage communication flows within the organization, and among customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders. Building authentic relationships will consistently produce value throughout your leadership journey: Neha Kumar has held several different types of roles, some requiring that she manage large teams while her most recent role is mostly focused on building external partners. She noted that the theme across all these roles has been the ability to establish and maintain authentic relationships with people that result in open lines of communication and mutual benefit. In a remote work setting, achieving this with new partners has been more challenging but still achievable through increased efforts in upfront alignment around shared goals and making sure to document conversations well.
Remain transparent: Leading with honesty and transparency fosters trust among the team. Be open and honest with your team about the market challenges your company is facing: While at Eneza Education, Charles Ellioth learned the importance of finding ways to increase communication and feedback loops during difficult times. When your team or company is facing challenges such as finding product-market fit or struggling to fit within local regulations, regular and open communication is crucial to maintaining team morale. Charles and his manager found success in presenting the challenges being faced and brainstorming solutions with the wider team. This is better than the alternative, where the frustration around lack of information can result in rumors that cast uncertainty around the future of the company.
CoffeeChat is a Future of Work technology company on a mission to democratize access to coaching support for the estimated 15 million managers working across Africa. Founded in early 2019, CoffeeChat has worked with dozens of companies to facilitate access to both professional coaches and peer coaches. CoffeeChat was featured in the HolonIQ Africa EdTech 50 list in 2020 and was ranked as a top startup during the Village Capital Future of Work Africa program in 2021.