New Year. New Insights.

How well do you know the members of your team? What makes them tick…and what just plain ticks them off? In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, why not resolve to improve camaraderie in your workplace? Better relationships produce better results. Here are five tips for gaining insights about your team:


Be Humble

A manager who is “all business” leaves employees feeling like production machines rather than human beings. Getting to know employees on an individual level pays off in improved team morale and productivity. It’s no surprise a recent poll found relationship with an immediate supervisor is a major determinant of an employee’s productivity. Managers who fail to prioritize relationships should not expect exceptional results. Good bosses are humble. They know every employee has valuable insights to offer.


Break down the ‘Boss Wall’

Online retailer Zappos considers the “80/20 rule” a guiding principle for its corporate success. The company puts this into practice by encouraging managers to spend 20 percent of their time simply “hanging out” with employees. While this may seem counterintuitive, the payoff is less inhibited communication, which results in organizational innovation. Removing some of the “boss wall” helps managers and employees communicate more freely and increases desire to work as a team.


Socialize Away from the Office

Highly effective employees typically have this in common: They are well-connected with coworkers. Socializing during out-of-office events allows coworkers to gain insights into team members’ personalities in a way they might not during regular office hours. Team outings offer coworkers opportunity to form genuine friendships while increasing trust. One caveat to out-of-office interactions, however, is that outlandish behaviors could have the opposite effect, leading to damaged relationships. It’s important to remember decorum when relating to coworkers, whether in or out of the office.


Improve Behavioral Awareness

Parents of multiple children quickly learn each child behaves uniquely despite similar circumstances. So, too, managers must learn the best approach for communicating effectively with each member of the team. Understanding the basics of human behavior is the foundation for effective communication. The better we understand our own communication styles, as well those of our coworkers, the easier it becomes to convey ideas without misunderstandings. Employing a behavioral survey tool, like PDP ProScan®, can offer insights into individual stressors and motivators. This will lead to more positive interactions and increased cooperation.


Listen Up

The sage advice, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” is a pillar of effective leadership. Someone who does all the talking will lose out on the insights of other team members. Listening is a powerful relationship-building tool. When you listen, your coworkers will feel they have been understood and their ideas validated. You will build trust while potentially gaining valuable insights. When you are quiet, the person you are speaking with is more likely to share vital information. So listen up!


The bottom line is this: Investing in relationships reaps benefits. When trust is built among coworkers, your organization will gain new insights for continuous improvement. Resolve to learn more about your team members in the new year!