Building Stronger Relationships And And Communicating Effectively With Different People.
By David Henzel, founder of the Love not Fear Alliance. Coaching organizations to build companies their teams and customers love.
Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping workplace culture, which especially thrives when upholding strong relationships is ingrained in its very foundation. When your staff and teams have tight connections, it gives an even greater meaning to the work one produces as well as the actual time spent at work. And when staff are happy and feel bonded with and supported by their co-workers, it is reflected in better management and business.
Here are six strategies and tips to build bonds among your staff and promote productive forms of communication.
1. Choose Love, Not Fear
A truly great realization is that we can choose to base our thoughts, decisions and actions on love and not fear. As people, we are often driven by one of two emotions—love or fear—and it is in our power to choose which one to act on. “Love, not fear” is one of my personal core values and certainly a vital value for each of my organizations. When we are in a state of love, we love what we do at every moment. This shows up in what we produce and how we communicate with others. Rather than focusing on making a quota to, say, pay our mortgage (which would be acting out of fear), my businesses operate with the mission of providing more value, which is an expression of love.
2. Know The Influence Of Words
From a neurolinguistic standpoint, we know that the words we use matter. We can either lift ourselves and others up with our words or bring everyone down with them. But if we are aware of how certain words have a negative impact, then it becomes easy to no longer use them with our employees and colleagues. Leaders can share this knowledge with others and point out how we can switch up our words for better results to establish a more positive mindset among staff.
3. Eliminate The Word ‘Try’
As Yoda says: “Do or do not, there is no try.” To express that you will “try” something, versus saying that you will “do” something is the most inefficient way of communicating that you will actually do something and the most efficient way of just not doing it. It is the difference between commitment and lack of commitment. For example, if someone says they are going to “try” to pick you up from the airport, you can’t rely on it actually happening. And so I advise banishing the word “try” at work—because I’ve found that in most cases it is rooted in some element of fear. Plus, when people truly commit, that’s when the magic happens.
4. Turn ‘Musts’ And ‘Haves’ Into ‘Wants’
Another word game we play with ourselves that can negatively affect our motivation is to say that we “have to,” “must” or “should” do something. (This also just isn’t true.) This is because the truth of the matter is we do typically actually “want” to do the things we do—otherwise, we wouldn’t do them. Even in the example of exercising or going to the doctor, we “want” to go because we want to achieve results or the peace of mind that comes from getting the stuff we need to do done. Saying that we “have to” or “should” do something implies that there is some sort of fear or dread behind the resistance. Recognizing that and switching up our vocabulary to use the word “want” for what we want to do is something a leader especially can do to serve as an example and motivate staff.
5. Practice Active Listening
Active listening is listening with awareness and seeking to understand rather than listening to respond. It involves being fully present with what someone is saying, maintaining eye contact, listening without judgment, asking open-ended questions and summarizing or repeating back what someone has said. Practicing active listening with your staff can make them feel heard and cared for and will give you a greater understanding of their situation.
6. Try The Lifeline Exercise
In the lifeline exercise, people draw a straight line that represents the years they have been alive. They then list significant events that took place in their life, both the highs and the lows, and put dots above or below the timeline to represent them. Afterward, they connect the dots to show the most difficult and happiest times of their life. Creating a lifeline and sharing the findings of a lifeline with others is an efficient and insightful way to understand the intricacies of someone’s life. When used in team building, it can help forge strong bonds by fostering mutual understanding, empathy and compassion among staff.
Building a nurturing company culture is easy, especially if leaders emphasize having strong communication skills that encourage transparency, accountability and personal growth. By promoting and embodying communication with affirmative language and honesty with ourselves and others, we can create a positive work environment and establish deeper relationships among colleagues. The positive effects can help a business thrive.