How to build relationships and expand influence when the pressure is on
In today’s environment we’re all learning to do our jobs in new ways. When we feel overwhelmed , it is easy to focus on increasing our efficiency and accomplishing more tasks. But often, what suffers when leaders focus on efficiency and productivity is relationships. Leaders get things accomplished through people and people crave connection. Right now, the majority of leaders are interacting with their teams virtually. The power of relationships has never been more important than it is in this moment.
Here are 3 simple behaviors to help build better relationships:
Listen More Deeply
A conversation completely changes when you’re able to slow down and stop thinking about your next response and listen with intent to others. You will be able to pick up more from their tone of voice, how they are saying it & the language they are using. These subtle cues will help you build deeper relationships with your team and also provide more customized advice, support and direction.
Ask the Right Questions
Asking meaningful questions might be the most vital tool a leader has when working with a teammate. Well formulated questions allow you to understand them on a deeper level. You’ll learn what motivates them, stresses them and much more. When people see that you care about them they naturally want to raise their performance and engagement. The next time you connect with a teammate, try asking more questions then, listen for understanding.
The Fortune Is In The Follow Up
Leaders are bombarded by multiple priorities and it can be easy to forget to follow up on conversations we’ve had. It takes discipline and intentionality to plan follow-up conversations. Follow up take a bit of effort but it makes all the difference in building relationships. I encourage all of my clients to keep notes about their conversations and put reminders in their calendars to initiate follow up conversations. Try scheduling 5-7 minutes after a conversation to make notes and schedule that follow up. Otherwise, it’s easy to forget the essence of the conversation, get bogged down with tasks and forget to follow up.
The next time you feel pressured to improve efficiency and productivity with your team, pause, re-frame your thinking and begin building those relationships by listening more deeply, asking more questions and following up on conversations. Then watch your relationships (and productivity) flourish.