Louis Lehot spent the last 20 years of his law practice in an office or out-and-about serving clients, interacting with his team, problem-solving and, finding ways to help clients win. He commented, “Teamwork is the foundation in business, which leads to success. Appropriately managed, teams help maximize each member’s strong points while minimizing weaknesses. Creating productive teams is a contact sport.”
Following are 4 tips that came out of my conversation with Louis Lehot on how to build healthy relationships in the office:
1. Celebrate the benefits of difference
Every team member will bring unique personal, cultural, or background-specific attributes. Many will be different from you. Accept those differences. Champion them. Be a place where everyone can say what they think and bring their unique perspective. There is no “I” in a team.
2. Communication is Key
When you have trust and communicate, you can achieve great results with your colleagues at work. One of the quickest ways to lose trust is to surprise your teammates, not provide a deliverable on time or to specification. With so many communication tools, from Slack channels to text to email, meaning can get lost in words or crude abbreviations. Make time to communicate directly and clearly, face-to-face or direct voice contact. Set the tone by scheduling contact with all team members regularly.
3. Give respect. Earn respect
No matter how high you climb in your firm, you rely on the contributions of every member of your team, whether they are entry-level or senior, to deliver success. Showing respect for the newest member of your team, giving them time, showing them the ropes, being respectful of their ideas, and not being harsh when you disagree with them, establish your credibility and engender the respect of others. When you give respect, you get respect.
We have all be in there. We have all had a boss that would ask us to do something, micro-manage us, and then criticize the final product, essentially because it was not as perfect as if the boss had done it herself. The cemetery is filled with such irreplaceable bosses where nothing could be done that weren’t done by them. But you won’t make progress if you don’t give your teammates the autonomy, space, and level of comfort to try things themselves. You will be glad that when you give your teammates the freedom to complete their tasks, they will feel greater satisfaction and often deliver even more outstanding results. Relationships are about trust and mutual success. Keep an open mind to how things can be done differently to be more effective, more efficient, or simply in greater harmony.
There is, of course, and unending list that could be discussed as it pertains to building healthy relationships at work. However, if you put the four tips above immediately in place, you can bet you’ve put yourself on the right track!