Remote work has eroded trust between colleagues, crippling the interactions and feelings team members need to function on a daily basis.
Even a partial return to the office will help you (re)build these essential elements, if you know how to recognize and name the feeling of the people you deal with. For example, try saying, “You look angry,” rather than, “Did the meeting go badly?” By putting a name to the emotion, you will create an opportunity to have a more personal and sincere conversation.
Who wouldn’t appreciate such recognition? And this exercise has an impact on your entire team. It’s how trust will begin to take root (again).
Be aware, however, that it’s a difficult exercise. You run the risk of making mistakes in your interpretations, which can be especially damaging when your “You look great!” comes on a very bad day. Be careful, too, about how the other person perceives your intentions. At the slightest suspicion of selfishness, you’ll earn a vote of no confidence.
Finally, expect that your colleagues will seize this opportunity to express themselves – that’s the goal, after all! Make sure you have the time and focus you need to participate in the conversation.
Alisa, Julian Zlatve and Justin Berg, (Harvard Business Review, 18 june 2021).
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