The context of business has never been one that thrives on a mindset of individualism or parochialism. Both can be a nightmare, which is why leaders and managers must ensure that team interaction always is the most optimal it can be.
Each team member is one link on a chain, and the adage “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is always going to apply. So, it is in your best interest to ensure that even the weakest point of the team is a strong one. Better employee interactions can help to build healthy company culture, as good interpersonal relationships are non-negotiable in a team context if there is to be any chance of success.
When subordinates can interact with each other well and can also do so with the management team, you are almost always going to come out on top, even in the face of adversity. This is one of the host of soft skills that are needed as a manager. Effective communication with each employee is as important as the next office furniture bulk order that includes the latest ergonomic chair and standing desk.
Even if you take care of the physical health aspect, it is not as effective as it can be with a terrible team dynamic bringing things down. This goes double if you have a hybrid workforce since communication is essential for remote work to thrive.
Below is a series of tips on how to interact with your team and encourage them to interact well in turn.
Pay Attention to the Body Language
Even when the spoken word is being used, most communication that happens is nonverbal. Using the wrong cues can make workplace interactions uncomfortable and doing so can even distort your meaning entirely, results in loss in team interaction.
Imagine if you asked one of your subordinates how the day was going and you were told that it was going excellently. Naturally, you would be relieved and happy to hear that someone is having a nice day. Now, would you believe that employee if you were given the same response as an endless flow of tears were coming?
Now you can see the kind of power nonverbal communication has over team interaction and workplace interactions. So, it is in your best interest to ensure that you are paying attention to what you may be communicating without saying it. Try to always use positive body language. You can achieve this by giving a thumbs up, nodding to show that you are actively listening, making eye contact, and smiling.
Use Simple Word Choices
Many managers and leaders have an impressive vocabulary at their disposal. You want to think of this like learning martial arts. Knowing how to do it does not mean you should use it. There is a reason why martial arts are marketed as self-defense mechanisms as opposed to offensive tools. Save your advanced vocabulary for when it is needed.
As you address your subordinates for workplace interactions, do your best to use simpler verbiage. Remember that better understanding is more conducive to smoother team interaction. Additionally, you do not want to be the kind of manager that team members see as nothing but a showoff. Imagine having an important discussion where everything must be understood and having to Google half of the terms being used as you are listening.
Remember Team Members Have Valuable Ideas
Though you are in a leadership position in an organization, it does not mean you always know best. You must value the ideas and opinions of all your subordinates too. Remember that they are the closest to the work being done, which means that they have insights that you may not. Note that valuing every idea is not the same as using every idea.
The quicker you can learn that as a manager is the more effective you will seem at having interactions where different perspectives are being presented. You also get your team members to feel like you are truly listening.
Take their ideas and suggestions, consider them, discuss them with the rest of the management team if you must. The aim is to use the feasible ones. If an idea is not feasible, remember to give positive feedback to the employee so the person can understand where the gaps lie.
Do not confuse individuality with individualism, as the two are not the same. While individualism is more of a selfish concept that disregards others, individuality means embracing the things that make you unique.
Sometimes, organizations have a positive work culture that encourages agreeing. When people begin to blindly agree with each other, creativity suffers, and decisions are made without the level of evaluation and criticism that may be necessary.
Learn to encourage different opinions without conflict. It positively contributes to team interaction. If nothing else, it means that your team can approach each situation while considering all alternatives and making choices from as informed a standpoint as possible.
Encourage a Culture of Gratitude
Never forget to show appreciation to the various team members that exert the effort that leads to success and gains team interaction. Even when they do not achieve the desired results, if you can see where the right approach was taken and a great effort was made, it is still cause for you to be appreciative and show gratitude. Employees enjoy feeling like they matter, and incorporating this culture only serves to improve job enrichment and staff morale.
You are not required to do anything big or have an award ceremony. If you do, that would be even better, but it is the culture of gratitude that counts here. You could be speaking to something as simple as completing an assignment before a deadline.
Apart from the good feeling it brings, this kind of respectful interaction encourages and reinforces good behaviors in the workplace.
Implement Visuals Where Possible
Listening to a lecture is not for everyone. Some people learn better when they have visual aids to help them understand the message being relayed. When possible, try to bring in something for the visual learners to gain team interaction too. Maybe a graph or some other chart in a meeting can work wonders.
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