All bosses want to have workplaces that are productive and successful. However, not all leaders think about how to create an environment that is conducive to a high level of success, nor do they consider the many ways they can contribute toward creating a productive and successful working environment. There are many ways that leaders impact the level of success a work environment has, but one that may not receive as much attention as it needs is how an organization and its leaders foster positive relational connections between employees. Fostering positive relationships between coworkers can be a critical factor in the working relationship. There are a number of ways leaders can foster positive connections between their employees.
Give Time to Get To Know One Another
The first step in any genuine relationship is taking the time to know one another. For a boss to allow a genuine connection to be established between employees, these employees must have frequent opportunities to spend time together in settings that allow them to get to know one another. This can and should come in a variety of forms. There should be opportunities throughout the workday when colleagues are able to engage with one another apart from getting their work tasks accomplished. This can come in the form of breaks together that allow them to discuss different things. But it is also important that employees be given opportunities to connect outside of the office or work environment. Employees need to be encouraged to gather after work to spend time with one another. This may mean leaders initiate them so there will be less reluctance to attend until they become employee-initiated events. Colleagues who work remotely can still gather by having a virtual happy hour. No matter the method of connecting, employees must be encouraged and given the opportunity to get to know one another.
Let Them Have Fun Together
One of the most effective ways to initiate a sense of camaraderie among coworkers is by letting them and helping them have fun together. This means that supervisors and other superiors must allow their employees to joke and laugh together. It also means that employees must be given opportunities outside of work to have fun together. An organization that can afford it would invest in facilities that allow coworkers to do activities together. Or for those organizations that have exercise facilities or room for them, they can create areas for group activities. For instance, pickleball is a group activity, so somewhere on the premises courts could be marked off and pickleball paddles purchased that employees have access to. By providing the location and the equipment, leaders create more opportunities for employees to have fun together.
Have Them Share Meals
The most important connections tend to be made over food, so leaders should make sure employees regularly share meals together if they want to foster connections between them. Eating is a time when people really slow down and are able to connect with others. Leaders should create areas in their facilities that allow lunchtime to be a shared space for coworkers. Leaders should also create opportunities for coworkers to share meals after work. This may mean it needs to happen on the company’s dime. If fostering connections is the goal, creating time to share meals is one of the most important ways this can be accomplished.
Relational connections truly do determine the dynamics of a team and contribute to whether the team is a success or a failure. Any leader who hopes to lead a successful team of employees at an organization must take responsibility for the relationships that exist. Being intentional about fostering positive relationships is critical and the only way to achieve the goal.