What relationships do you have with your collaborators? Strictly professional and detached, or friendly and mutually supportive? Can you really listen to them?
The answer to these questions has direct consequences on your work: not only on the pleasantness of a coffee break or an aperitif between colleagues after office hours, but also on the results and achievements of your team.
The ability to build meaningful relationships, of value, and not just "good relations", in fact, is reflected on the satisfaction of the collaborators, on their degree of involvement and on the cohesion of the group. The goal to be strived - coaching experts suggest - is the creation of a collaborative culture.
It is not a recent undertaking. The reason is simple: the rules of the work and the non-labor sphere are not the same.
The secret to overcome the challenge? Be good "balancing" and not go beyond certain boundaries, as suggested by Kim Scott, a coaching expert and author of the essay "Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing your Humanity". A woman well known in Silicon Valley for the work done in technology companies such as Google, Apple, Twitter and Dropbox: all realities where the sense of community and team is very strong.
Here are the tips.
Personal way, but not to much ...
The first suggestion is to relate in a direct and "personal" way with the collaborators. Talk to them face to face, individually, communicate openly your opinion both when their work is satisfactory and when it is not. Involve people in individual challenges and prove yourself involved in their goals. Be careful, however, not to become intrusive.
A leader capable of reducing distances tends to be perceived as an ally rather than a "leader". But striving to be popular at all costs is counterproductive: what is not very sincere generates suspicion. Produce, in essence, the opposite effect.
Compliments in public, criticism in private
Praising the good work of one of your collaborators in the presence of other colleagues will strengthen your self-esteem and motivation, as well as stimulate the whole group to follow suit. Criticizing someone in public, on the contrary, is unnecessarily deleterious because it creates insecurity and tensions.
Learn to listen
It is perhaps the most important piece of advice. Do not think to get away with some conversation during the corporate party or in an output between colleagues: listening is true. It is about bringing into play the lever of empathy, making sure that people feel considered and giving them time and attention.
Tell the truth
In addition to listening, it is important to provide feedback. If your collaborator has done his job well or badly, if he has made a mistake or, on the contrary, deserves praise, communicate your thoughts with transparency. Feedback is useful if it is specific and sincere: it does not serve to flatter but to encourage, not to demotivate but to correct.
The advice of the "guru" of Silicon Valley coaching should have debunked some clichés. Socializing does not mean becoming an ally: worldly appointments, corporate parties and other extralavorative events are an opportunity to get to know each other, but this is not how real connections are built. Chatting "more or less" is useful for passing time, but not for creating a collaborative culture. The ability to listen and dialogue, on the other hand, are the foundations of the most solid work teams. And destined for success.