Why are we not talking about the important role relationships play in the workplace?
Many factors go into creating a high-performance team – vision, goals, innovation, collaboration, skilled people, and strong work ethics. But there is one factor that outweighs them all that isn’t discussed quite as commonly: relationships.
In the sports world, many of the greatest teams in history are made up of more than just skilled and hardworking athletes. It should come as no surprise that those teams also had strong relationship ties within the team dynamic.
For anyone that has ever competed in sports, you know the important role that team building has on determining the success of the team. When spending a significant amount of time with your teammate, building strong connections becomes imperative for performance.
Many studies show that by fueling the basic human psychological need for belonging, meaningful workplace connections drive many outcomes that are central to high-performance teams.
An article by Harvard Business Review stated that “employees with close connections at work are more productive, creative, and collaborative. They also report being more satisfied with their job, are less susceptible to burnout, and are less likely to leave their organization to pursue another role.”
These connections don’t happen by chance. They are cultivated under certain conditions.
Here are three evidence-based strategies to help build meaningful connections in your team:
- Commonalities spark friendships
Studies show that one of the strongest drivers of connection is similarities. The more people have in common, the more likely they are to click. Managers can leverage this in the onboarding process. Rather than sharing names and professional experience, add more about people’s personal interests. This humanizes people and creates opportunities for team members to connect over similar interests.
- Highlight shared goals
Shared goals within a team supports the development of friendships and “studies show that workers who view their colleagues as essential to their success build closer friendships.” Shared goals also offer leaders the opportunity to create a team mentality.
- Turn tension into connection
Disagreements are part of any relationship and are bound to happen within your team. Research shows that workplace disagreements often erupt when people “feel undervalued, unappreciated, or perceive a lack of respect.” Leaders can diffuse conflicts by working with team members to create relationship building statements, acknowledging contributions, and valuing expertise.
If you want to create a high-performance team, cultivating strong, meaningful connections within your team is a critical part of the process.
– Coach Taylor