From the Desk of Kellie Gottner, Connectify HR

August 25, 2022 | Kellie Gottner, Connectify HR

Kellie Gottner, HR and Client Experience Officer, Connectify HR

In this age of digital and social media domination and a world where more and more individuals work in a non-traditional office environment, intentionality in building relationships is necessary to build trust and nurture long-term successful partnerships.

There are many interpretations of connection and many ways to interact with others. But what are the ways to connect that develop trust and deepen communication?  As business owners and leaders, how do you build a culture of connection among your employees, vendor partners, clients, and community?

Think about your past week at work and at home.  When you asked a co-worker, spouse, or child the question, “how are you doing”, how did they respond?  If your week was like mine, the answer to “How are you doing?” was “I’m busy” or “I’m fine.” I learned a long time ago, fine isn’t a feeling and busy isn’t a badge you earn in boy or girl scouts.   

True connections are about getting past the busy and fine of life.  Connections are about conversations that reveal curiosity, vulnerability, emotions, and at times, difficult topics.  I’ve worked with many managers throughout my career who weren’t comfortable in building true connections with their teams. Not because they didn’t want to, but they didn’t know where to start or what to say. I’ve seen employees who are hesitant to inform a client or customer of a mistake because they don’t know them well enough to know how they will respond.  Trust and connection eliminates this uncertainty.

So, what can you do to begin building connections with others throughout all aspects of business and personal life? The following are foundations to great partnerships.

  1. Schedule time and invite conversation – Be intentional about making time for others with no other motivation than to listen and understand. Date nights with a spouse, monthly check-ins with team members, and quarterly or semi-annually check-ins with clients ensures you have time built into your schedule for these important interactions.
  2. Smile and make eye contact at the individual. Studies have shown smiling increases mood-enhancing hormones and decreases stress-enhancing hormones. Smiling conveys positive intent to the other person. Eye contact demonstrates your undivided attention and focus on the other individual.
  3. Listen to understand – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand their perspective. Focus on asking questions instead of trying to solve for issues.
  4. Ask “And what else.” Dig deeper and be curious by asking follow-up questions which can increase vulnerability, demonstrate your engagement in the conversation, and build trust.
  5. Be respectful – Treat others how you THEY want to be treated vs. how YOU want to be treated. Those can be two different things. (For example, you might like to be given time to process on your own, while some prefer to do it out loud with other people.) Part of this is getting to know an individual well enough to understand what they need to be at their best. Relationships are a journey and when difficult conversations occur at work or personally, be considerate and humble.
  6. Be honest and authentic – Be brave and vulnerable enough to tell the truth regardless of the outcome to another individual. This is a sign of trust and relatability.

These simple actions are building blocks to create long-lasting partnerships.  Strong connections in business with others leads to increased employee retention, employee engagement, and ultimately increased profitability through client retention and referrals.

For more information, please contact Connectify at 515-207-0720.