Take time to get to know the people you work with, especially your direct reports. Have coffee or a meal with them. Ask questions to learn about their lives and what’s important to them. Questions unrelated to work might include “what are your interests outside of work?”, “what do you like to do during your free time?” or “where did you grow up?”. These questions typically open the door for you to ask follow-up questions. This will give you insights into how they are wired, including what they value at work and in their lives outside of work. Research by psychologist James Pennebaker has shown that when you get people to talk, they feel more connected to you, they like you more and feel they learn more from you.
This is the twenty-first post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.