I just got back from teaching a class on our Situational Team Leadership content. Before class started, people were very quiet, even wary, about talking with one another. Some even passed the time by doing individual work at their computer.
To start the class I shared that since this was a course on teams, I’d like them to introduce themselves and then share something that they were proud of that their team had accomplished. WOW! The energy in the room jumped to amazing decibels—and for the rest of the day, that energy was transferred into amazing participants who felt great about themselves and participated at the highest level.
If a winter chill has crept into some of your interactions with others, or you’d like to get to know people better, here is a six step way to purposefully SPRING into reigniting the joy and inspiration of working together.
Step 1: Smile. Many times we can become so busy that we don’t even lift our heads to look at, or engage with others. We walk by, we say hi, but we don’t really notice others. Ready for a change? Look up, make eye contact, smile, and say good morning.
Step 2: Personalize your conversations. Connect with others on what’s new in their life, what they’re working on, and what is important to them. Asking questions about others is one of the best ways to naturally engage people. My son, Nick, makes it a point to learn three things about everyone he meets which really helps build relationships in his new role as a tax analyst.
Step 3: Relate your commonalities. Share some of your experiences that resonate with what you have learned about them. Sometimes we hesitate to share our experiences because we don’t want conversations to be all about us. Yet sharing our own experiences creates shared memories, often adds humor, and builds deeper relationships. Relate what is going on currently in your life to what is going on in theirs.
Step 4: Inspire. Blanchard’s research on motivation states that people are motivated by autonomy, relatedness, and competence. One of the ways to feel a renewed focus and delight in life is to learn something new, or to take on new behaviors. How are you keeping your brain flexible? As you feel inspired by what you are learning, inspire other people around you (and embed the new information in your brain so as to remember it) by sharing interesting models, facts, articles, and books.
Step 5: Notify. Share opportunities and possibilities for future experiences. People want to connect, but often find it easier to go home to their favorite place on the couch and watch TV. Notify people of what is coming up that they could take advantage of to add energy to their lives. These possibilities can include what is coming up in the organization, in the community, workshops, conferences, or training opportunities.
Step 6: Gratitude. Share the gratitude that you have for your new or deepening relationship. Say thank you for all they bring to your life and the work that you do together.
Too often people don’t recognize the impact they have on the people around them. While keeping their nose to the grindstone, they sometimes lose track of the need for connectedness. SPRING ahead by taking the time to reestablish the human connection in the groups you work with.
About the Author
Vicki Halsey is a senior consulting partner and Vice President of Applied Learning for The Ken Blanchard Companies.