Building harmony and trust into your team’s work culture is always a process. Every team and every company is different, and you might not work with management that sees value in workshops, off-sites, or personality tests.
But you don’t have to be a CEO or have a formal title of leadership to guide more trust and harmony into your team.
Two easy ways are simply to be consistently aware of what your colleagues are working on, and to be interested in what they aspire to be professionally and personally. Investing relationally with these two goals builds a culture of professional support without it being entirely based on achievements at work. Our lives aren’t just made of professional wins are they?
If you’ve been looking for ways to find genuine, supportive networking and mentorship opportunities, these might be it, right within your own team! You might not need to strain as much to diversify your network, but instead, deepen it. Here are a few ways to do just that:
It always comes back to this doesn’t it? Communication is the gateway to trust, and you have to start with yourself. Joy in camaraderie starts with being trustworthy, playing at the top of your game, and being genuinely ready to help your teammates do the same.
So what enables you to play at that prime level? StrengthsFinders, the Thinking Wavelength, Myers-Briggs, and the Enneagram can only tell you so much, but these personality tests can provide a blueprint understanding. What energizes or drains you and your teammates? There are usually some small practical fixes that can be implemented, from the times of day you schedule meetings to what you talk about while waiting for another pot of coffee to brew.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What’s continually difficult? Don’t just stay confined to what you think you can be good at. Is there someone on your team who seems like an expert at something you could use help on? Maybe it’s about systems, or choosing industry events to attend. Ask for a mini-orientation on how someone else organizes a database, manages relationships with vendors, or crushes their inbox!
Finding a mentor for your specific ambitions can sound daunting, but you’re probably already surrounded by “mini” mentors in your colleagues. We live in an exciting time in culture celebrating collaboration over competition. Learning is everywhere, and not just in supervisors or cold emails industry titans, but also in your peers, those you manage, and your interns right next to you!
Respecting your colleagues’ knowledge, experience, and passion by calling on their expertise reminds us all we have much to learn but also much to teach!
Do your homework when it comes to your projects, but if you’re hitting a familiar rut in a project, asking someone else to weigh in and audit your process isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it shows how committed you are both to solving a problem and to committing to a team beyond just yourself.
Work-wise, our value lies in continuous learning, but no matter what, success is best enjoyed when shared. When you find it together, the shared pride of hitting a goal together is amazing momentum for the next hurdle you’ll face. Don’t forget to also assess if you’re taking ownership over too many tasks that should be delegated.
Take the Time
How do you build relationships? Consistency. It sounds simple, but we’re human, often changing, but always hopeful for meaningful connection with those around us.
A little bit of time for coffee with a new colleague or one you don’t know as well can open up that communication disconnect you might have between departments… or the delay you’re getting in feedback ;). Different specialties often speak different languages to accomplish their particular goals. Don’t get complacent about not knowing what’s up. And for your remote colleagues, really celebrate when you get to unite IRL.
It’s embarrassing how effective this can be, because it’s pretty easy. It simply makes the most impact when made a regular priority over time.
What projects are your colleagues working on that you’re not directly involved with? What’s a side project they’ve been trying to get off the ground outside of the 9 to 5?
Just being actively interested in your teammates can help give them the confidence and accountability to make their dream come to fruition.
It’s easy to become siloed into just your department or focus, and lose sight of a well-rounded understanding of what your organization is doing as a whole. When you branch out consistently to support and challenge your teammates, you say in practical ways that you believe in them, and that you can achieve more than you imagine together.
Photos by Summer Staeb