3 Ways To Connect To Your Team Members – Even When It’s Difficult

Since the beginning of time, individuals working together toward a common goal have had to identify how to collaborate, even in the midst of significant differences in personality types and approaches to work. The most effective teams have developed ways to build trust, connection, and collaboration even in spite of those challenges. Having worked with hundreds of individuals and teams as an Executive Coach and Corporate Trainer for almost a decade, I have noticed trends in how team members are able to effectively connect to others on their teams even when it’s difficult. Here are three ways that I have observed that hopefully can help you and your team to connect and thrive. 


1) Listen to what your team members are saying about who they are when it comes to what they value and acknowledge those values in how you connect.


If you listen close enough, your team members will share with you what they value. For example, one team member might value a sense of urgency around deadlines. Another team member might value having less discussion before making a decision. Another team member may value listening to various perspectives. When team members share their various values, you can try to put yourself in that team member’s shoes to try to collaborate in a way that acknowledges those values. For example, if a team member values a sense of urgency around deadlines and you sense you won’t be able to meet a deadline, you can arrange to speak with that team member and ask to shift priorities in order to meet an urgent deadline or ask for some additional support where needed in order to meet the deadline. You could also reprioritize other tasks that might not be as urgent to ensure you exceed the deadline associated with your team member. Understanding your team members’ values can help you connect and lead to better working relationships with your team members. 


2) Learn how your team member feels affirmed


Some team members will appreciate words that affirm the value of their work stated in a private space, others might appreciate you affirming them in front of the entire team, others might appreciate a financial gift or bonus as a result of their great work, and others might have other ways they desire to feel acknowledged for great work. Research cites that a large portion of employees leave their jobs because they are seeking a better work culture. Acknowledging fellow team members in the way they prefer to be acknowledged can help everyone enjoy more connection at work and an overall improved work culture. 


3) Resolve relational issues quickly


If challenges are coming up between you and another individual that seems to be greatly impacting the work you do, identify how to quickly resolve the issue. Challenging work relationships can result in team members making more mistakes at work, having decreased morale, and experiencing decreased levels of productivity. For one team member relationship, setting up a formal meeting with that individual might be the best way to have a conversation, for another, an informal chat over lunch might be best, or maybe you might bring up your thoughts, feelings, or feedback in a constructive way during a 1:1 check-in. The sooner you can resolve issues and the more effective you can be at resolving issues in a way that works for everyone involved, then the sooner you can continue to connect with that colleague and collaborate better together. 


My hopes are that the three strategies above will result in greater connection with your team members and ultimately can result in an enhanced work culture that allows team members and customers to benefit, not only now, but also in the future!

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Daphne Valcin Executive Coach | Staff Trainer and Leadership Trainer | DiSC Facilitator – Willow North 

As a certified facilitator, Daphne Valcin has over 20 years of experience speaking and training for audiences from small groups to audiences as large as 6.000. As a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, Daphne Valcin has personally coached hundreds of rising and senior leaders in 20 states as well as in Canada, the UK, and China, towards their career advancement and business growth goals. Daphne’s career and executive coaching clients include clients representing Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 companies including UnitedHealthcare, Lockheed Martin Corporation, UPS, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. along with leaders within organizations committed to social change including Higher Achievement, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and KIPP Public Charter Schools.

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