Work Smarter//

Why You Should Ask Your Teammates How They’re Doing

Being a supportive colleague doesn’t actually require you to make grand gestures.

By fizkes/Shutterstock
By fizkes/Shutterstock

Being a great manager or supportive colleague can feel challenging at times, but although you may feel this way, it doesn’t require you to make grand gestures. In fact, new research confirms it’s often the little things that have the biggest impact on employees: A new report shows that managers who simply say hello and goodbye to their employees each day not only garner more trust, but also keep their teams better engaged.

This report shows that managers who took the opportunity to greet their team members or ask them how they were doing were better able to open “a line of informal communication,” as well as a “springboard” for longer conversations that give way to employees’ ideas, concerns, and personal lives. And while participating managers didn’t immediately see an uptick in their “management support scores,” their sustained efforts to engage their teammates were shown to pay off six months down the line. 

So if you’re looking to connect with your colleagues, make a point of dedicating a few minutes each day to checking in with them. Maybe that’s taking a quick lap around the office first thing each morning to see how everyone is doing, or practicing your Microstep by speaking up when you notice someone struggling: Ask what you can do to help, and how you can support them.

Actively taking time to acknowledge your colleagues and show that you care creates an atmosphere of psychological safety on your team. A workplace that offers psychological safety, or as Amy Edmondson, Ph.D, a professor at Harvard Business School, has explained, one that encourages individuals to speak up and be heard without fear, generates honesty, productivity, and genuine connection.

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