I have come to believe that the things that matter most in any relationship, this includes your relationship with your direct reports as well, is the small things that you do daily.
Here are 3 things that you can start doing today to improve your relationship with your team:
- Talk to everyone in your team at the start of the day. Everyday. This can be for a minute or 5 minutes. But do this as a ritual. You can say hi or ask them how did that meeting go or how was their day yesterday or even inquire about their family if you know them. Talk about anything, but talk to them everyday in the morning.
- Coach one person everyday: Identify one person in your team whom you would like to coach. Decide if you would like to reinforce and polish one of their strengths or work upon one of their improvement areas.
- Give them a hypothetical scenario relevant to what you want to coach about. This could be a customer situation or a inter-personal situation or anything that is relevant.
- Ask them to think through and provide their response.
- Ask them why they chose that response and not any other response.
- Reinforce the response if it was the right response. If not, talk to them about what you think could be improved in their response.
- Don’t criticize. Just provide your feedback. Talk to them about how you would approach the situation and why. Don’t necessarily force your approach on them, but let them decide for themselves.
- When such a situation arises, notice how they respond. Provide feedback based on their response.
- Catch someone doing something right, everyday: Make it a ritual to do this every single day. It can be about how someone handled a difficult situation or about how someone stood up for the team when it mattered or about how as a team they found a solution for a nagging problem. Find something to praise your team. It is unbelievable what this one habit alone can do to the morale of your team. This will also reinforce the culture that you want your team to exhibit. You will start getting more of such behaviors that you recognize and praise. Just make sure that the praise is genuine, honest and prompt.
There are a lot that you will still need to do in order to become an effective leader – like being fair to everyone, living the values that you expect your team to live by, be consistent and open to feedback, to state a few.
However, the 3 activities that we have discussed today, will go a long way in creating a foundation of trust on which you can build on.
What other daily rituals you have that result in creating a high trust environment.
Let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below or by tweeting to me at @rmukeshgupta.
PS: A very different take on leadership by Friedman