I don't know about you guys, but building relationships over the past few years due to COVID, took a very different turn. Zoom relationship building is a different world.
At the heart of who I am, I am an extrovert. I want to get to know people, I want to know their families, their hobbies, etc. However, at work I have a tendency to jump right into getting the job done. I'm sure most of us had the same experience in 2020/2021, you join a conference call, everyone says hello, and then you dive right in. As I reflect back on that time period and new colleagues that I had the opportunity to engage with during that time, I never had the side conversations (break room, or lunch outings) with them. I never got a chance to hear them vent after a tough phone call, or to hear them say they were leaving a bit early to go to a lesson for a particular hobby. Instead, a simple hello at the start of a call, and maybe a quick have a great weekend at the end.
That brings me to my big question, how do we get back to building relationships in today's new remote world. The world isn't going back to the way it was pre COVID.
We spend more time on average with our work family then we do with our blood family. Thinking back over my career, the best projects, and the best memories have been with people who are still great friends today. It's been great reconnecting over the past few months with long lost colleagues and reminiscing about things we worked on together. When you are working on a difficult project with people with whom you have a relationship, it makes the project seem so much more delightful.
I think we need to get back to basics. Intentional relationship building. If we aren't having water cooler conversations, we must schedule time to get to know people. Schedule time during meetings that you host to really catch up with people, Be GENUINE, really listen to what they are saying. Make it a point to ask about their family, or their dog, or their golf game on every call you have with them. Pick one person every week to call and check in on them and find out how they are doing. The quickest way as a leader to have your team follow you, is to gain their trust by building a genuine relationship with them. Be approachable, and vulnerable with your emotions. Show them the real side to you that exists that they may not get to see everyday.
With that said, everyone may not be your cup of tea, and that's ok. It doesn't mean you can't have a respected relationship with them that is conducive to business.
This new world is teaching all the old dogs new tricks. I am learning more every day, albeit I'm not ready to enter the world dog frisbee championships. I hope you will join me in learning these new tricks, and strengthening your networking circle.