Read Time: 7 minutes
According to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Patrick Lencioni, 2002), lack of commitment amongst groups leads directly to breakdown and, well…dysfunction. Without the essential elements of trust and healthy conflict, connections remain superficial and often contentious. People harbor grudges, demand apologies, and take personal what is truly lively debate, breaking down connections and leaving teams more fractured than when they began.
To cultivate synergy, connections between members need to be solid enough to withstand opposition and strong enough to embrace communication on every level.
Words you choose
Think back to a time when you had a disagreement with someone and then found out later it was all because of a single word or few words you said that rubbed them the wrong way. An entire argument because that word(s) gave the person reason to defend themselves. It all could have been avoided. Example, your spouse/partner/family calls you by your full name instead of your pet name (gasp!).
Words convey meaning and that meaning has energy behind it. Let’s look at some examples to show our point:
Even though words are the smallest marker of communication, choosing the words that convey our meaning AND energy is important to building connections.
There are so many benefits to smiling more. When you smile it’s proven to lower your blood pressure, decrease blood sugar, increase endorphins, strengthen immune systems, reduce stress, and more! One of the best things about smiling is that it is a positive form of communication that’s contagious. Try connecting with someone with a negative or natural facial expression. Then try and connect with someone when you are genuinely smiling. The difference is palpable.
Connecting with someone using verbal mirroring skills helps establish rapport because it focuses on the person speaking and requires actively listening. There are three effective ways to use verbal mirroring in a conversation:
- Paraphrasing whatever was said
- Repeat the last line they said back to them.
- Repeat certain words they tend to use often
Verbal Mirroring helps the other person feel heard and shows you are engaged.
Reality is, compliments have gone by the wayside outside of home settings because of fear; fear of misinterpretation, fear of harassment charges, fear of overstepping, fear of being seen as weak. Yet, complimenting others is a way to demonstrate true appreciation, recognition, and gratefulness for what someone brings to the team. To have a connection and real synergy, a team needs to be free from fear and embrace compliments as they are meant.
Here are some different types of compliments to use:
- Genuine- without any ulterior motive; “You do such a wonderful job folding clothes.” “The way you approach conflict is masterful.”
- Spontaneous- focuses on the present; “Thank you for giving me the proposal early! Your time management is awesome!” “Your work never ceases to amaze me!”
- Personal- means something special to the person; “The way you laid out the new homepage blows the old one out of the water.” “Your new haircut looks fabulous on you.”
- Specific- highlights exactly what they have done; “Way to hit that ball into the outfield.” “That dress is the perfect color for your eyes.” “Things have been crazy around here and you are still crushing it!”
- Timely- make it as close to the event as possible; “At the morning meeting, you handled yourself like a pro.” “It’s impressive how you made the deadline.”
- Public- this can also be called recognition; this can be a trigger warning for some people so use it wisely; “And the one with the highest score is Jennifer!”
Connecting with people takes authenticity, your ability to be genuine and truthful. Openly talking about your life experiences shows people the journey you took to get where you are today. Offering insights into your fears and how you faced them shows how courageous you can be. Celebrating your successes highlights the hardships and tenacity you possess. Sharing your values, passion, hobbies, and the ability to laugh at yourself really shows your humanness. Talk about any of these and you’ll be sure to connect easily.
Make it personal
Creating a space where others feel comfortable being personal with you is all about the questions you ask. We call these Empowering Questions which are the kind that are open-ended and empower others to share more of themselves. Some examples are:
- “What are the best things that can happen?”
- “What are you unwilling to tolerate any longer?”
- “What do you think about that?”
Also, connecting is about remembering tidbits about their life and sharing equally about yours. Questions like:
- “How was that hike you were going to do this weekend?”
- “How are your kids?”
- “You went to the football game this weekend, right? How was it?”
Once you connect with others it’s easier to help them in their further development.
People harbor grudges, demand apologies, and take personal what is truly lively debate, breaking down connections and leaving teams more fractured than when they began. To cultivate synergy, connections between members need to be solid enough to withstand opposition and strong enough to embrace communication on every level.