As the old saying goes, “More hands are better than one.” Teamwork has become a buzzword in the workplace, and for good reason. Collaboration, more often than not, yields far better results than solo work. Team members have different strengths and can complement and support each other in their work.
Not all teams are equal, though. While some teams are productive and happy, others are less effective because of a lack of teamwork. One of the most important ways in which you can ensure a well-functioning team is by building rapport with team members. Working with other people requires more than just sharing tasks. It requires solid relationships. To help you and your teammates form a formidable team, I have compiled a list of 13 tips on how to build rapport with team members.
1. Keep the Humor Going
It is all too easy to become super serious in the workplace. After all, you’re there to achieve goals and make money. However, aim to keep things as fun as possible. People tend to be happier and relax more around those who make them smile or laugh. Keep things light and fun by injecting some humor into the workday. While nobody really respects the office clown, just seeing the funny side of something and sharing this with your teammates, or mailing them a funny TikTok video, can help build rapport.
2. Listen To Your Teammates
Although building rapport requires that you share your opinions and feelings, it’s even more important that you actively listen to others. As opposed to typical listening that involves sort of catching someone’s drift, active listening is where you really pay attention to what a person is saying. This means that before you respond, you take time to reflect on what was said so that you can provide meaningful feedback. Relationships improve between people when they feel that they are heard and understood. Active listening also involves remembering what a person said so that you can demonstrate your interest later on with follow-up questions.
3. Notice the Good Work of Teammates
An environment in which good work and excellence are recognized and encouraged is conducive to strong and positive relationships. Instead of feeling threatened or jealous when a team member has completed a task well or is generally excelling at their work, acknowledge their good work. Apart from congratulating them personally, spread the word among team members. Doing so will encourage others to also praise the work of fellow members. If you think your manager may not be aware of the achievements of a teammate, drop them an email or tell them in person. This could lead to a public acknowledgment of your teammate’s good work, such as a certificate or a weekend away.
4. Be Interested in Your Teammates
People tend to open up and shine when somebody else shows a genuine interest in them. You can only build relationships with people if you know them. Find out what the interests and passions of your teammates are and show some interest in these. If you know that a teammate is very proud of their son, ask them about him, or if you’ve overheard two team members chatting about golf, bring up the subject when you’re working together on a task or grabbing coffee at the coffee machine. Once you start showing an interest in the lives of your fellow workers, you’ll soon find common interests that you share, which will make it easier to build good relationships.
5. Be Honest
It’s not really possible to have a good relationship with a team member if you’re not honest. Too often, people think that others will only like them if they hide their contradictory opinions and just always nod in agreement. Although you want to aim to be polite and friendly, it’s better for everyone if you’re honest about your likes and dislikes.
When you need to work closely together with another team member, be vocal about how you prefer to work, whether this involves constant communication or rather just checking in with each other once a week. In turn, you can learn about your teammate’s preferences, which will allow you to figure out a way forward that’s conducive to productivity and peace.
6. Establish Common Goals
Working in a team can be stressful and challenging at times, especially if you’re working long hours or chasing deadlines. Knowing that all individual team members are working towards the same common goals can help boost the morale and productivity of a team. A manager or team leader can build rapport among the members of a team by holding regular meetings in which the common goals of the team are established and confirmed.
It’s also important that the team leader clearly shows how the goals of the team tie in with the company’s broader strategies and goals. Doing so will provide a team with a sense of value and purpose, which will strengthen the bonds between individual team members.
7. Communication Is Key
Communication is vital when it comes to building rapport with team members. If you’re constantly just doing your own thing and focusing on getting your tasks down without considering other members, you’ll soon isolate yourself from the team. Ensure that all members can expedite their tasks effectively by keeping everyone in the loop with regard to your schedule and progress.
The rapport among team members will also be strengthened if a team leader is transparent with regard to what’s happening in an organization, so that a team is aware of the necessary context at all times. By doing so, a team leader can also strengthen the rapport between themselves and their team, since team members will feel valued and included.
Read More: Difference Between Public Speaking And Interpersonal Communication
8. Be There for Each Other
Regardless of how professional your teammates are, they remain human, which means that there will be ups and downs in their personal lives. Building good rapport with other team members is about more than doing your share of the work and pitching on time for meetings. You also need to support your teammates in a personal capacity. If you know that somebody is going through a tough time, whether it’s divorce or the death of a loved one, show empathy and support. You can do so in multiple ways, from bringing flowers, inviting them for a cup of coffee, or offering to take on some of their duties for a while.
9. Be Open To Difference
Building rapport with another person doesn’t mean that you’re always going to agree on everything. Everybody has unique pasts and circumstances, which shape the way they think about life. The different commitments and responsibilities of individual team members also mean that they don’t all have the same levels of freedom or spare time. Respecting the differences in one another’s lifestyles, responsibilities, personalities, and approaches to work, is vital when it comes to building strong relationships. Aim to remain aware of the circumstances of other team members and try to accommodate everyone’s needs and preferences where possible and feasible.
10. Spend Time Together Outside of Work
Although you don’t need to become best friends, spending time outside of the workplace with your teammates can definitely build a positive rapport. People tend to relax a bit and show another, more personal side of themselves outside of work. It’s important to note, though, that not all team members will want to hang out in a bar and bond over drinks. Others, again, may be put off by the idea of team building, while others may not want to hang out with coworkers in their spare time at all.
Aim, therefore, to only involve team members who’d like to join, and to find an activity that everybody will find enjoyable. Smaller groups can also join up after work, whether to go to the gym or see a movie.
11. Share Your Knowledge
Individuals who tend to work on their own and who don’t regularly communicate with others, often don’t have a good rapport with fellow teammates. If you’re shy and don’t enjoy small talk, a nice way in which you can bond with other members is by freely sharing your knowledge. Whether it’s about a technical aspect of your work or an interesting fact you learned on the internet the night before, sharing an interesting point is a good conversation starter.
Honing a culture of information sharing is also good for a team in general since it elevates levels of knowledge and also encourages an environment in which people nurture and enrich each other.
12. Deal With Conflict Effectively
Regardless of how mature or professional the individual members of a team are, conflict is bound to arise at times. To ensure that the good rapport that you’ve worked so hard at building with your teammates isn’t unnecessarily destroyed by a conflict situation, you should learn how to deal with conflict effectively. Ensure that you remain calm and polite throughout and be wary of attacking your teammates on a personal level. Actively listen to their point of view and try to come to a compromise. When necessary, you can call in a third party or a manager to mediate.
Team leaders should ensure that there are clear-cut procedures in place so that team members can revert to these when conflict erupts in the workplace. Knowing that there are official procedures to fall back on in times of conflict will provide team members with a sense of security and will minimize the risk of relationships being harmed through bad conflict resolution.
13. Foster a Culture of Inclusivity
A culture of inclusivity is conducive to good relationships. Regardless of where you live or work, your team is bound to consist of people of different genders, races, and religious persuasions. It’s impossible to build rapport with team members if you discriminate against them based on things like their gender or race. Remember that you, too, are different from the other members of your team. If you want to be accepted and liked for who you are, you need to do the same for your teammates.
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