Whether you are the employer, manager, employee, or direct report, you always want to bring out the best in everybody. Being hypercritical or dismissive won’t get the job done, nor will effusive, meaningless praise. Instead, here are seven ways to ensure that you take your interactions to a powerful, productive new level.
1. Take yourself off autopilot.
See every interaction, be it in person or virtual, as an opportunity to get to know and connect with the other person. This means be fully present: Resist the urge to multi-task or dial in with your mind elsewhere.
2. Listen, really listen to what the person is saying.
Observe the person’s body language, demeanor, and facial expression.
3. If you disagree, don’t immediately respond with sarcasm or with an antagonistic tone.
It will be considerably more productive to clarify the issue. For example, you could say something like the following: “I sense you are frustrated/upset/angry. How can we work together to solve this?”
4. Ask respectful questions that show you are genuinely concerned and have the person’s best interests at heart.
These could be queries like “what is your biggest challenge as you navigate a hybrid workplace?” or “I haven’t seen you in meetings this week, is everything okay?”
5. People thrive on positive reinforcement, so it is helpful to find an opportunity to give a co-worker, manager, direct report an authentic compliment.
Notice something they are doing well and validate it by saying something like “your comment yesterday about x was very insightful” or “you always have an excellent way of articulating your thoughts.”
6. Everyone responds to positive energy.
Check-in with yourself and do an internal audit.
7. Take a moment to assess the personality style and priorities of the person you interact with.
This begins with understanding yours first. For example, if you are very direct and task-orientated and the other person tends to be more indirect and relationship-focused, you may have to adapt your style.