No matter what type of business you are in, as a business owner, you need to get along with your team. When your employees care about and respect you, they are more likely to be willing to go the extra mile for you when it comes to their job duties. Here's how to start things off on the right foot.
Learn About the Person's Background
When you hire someone new, you undoubtedly do due diligence in learning about their work history. When trying to build rapport with someone, the same holds true for learning about their personal life. Do they have a spouse or children? Where are they from originally? Do they enjoy sports? Finding out these details will make it easier for you to find common ground with the individual and can help conversation flow more easily.
Understand Their Job Duties
Make a point of knowing what it is that each person in your organisation does on a daily basis. This way, when you are discussing business, you can tailor your message to each person's unique needs. For example, an employee in the sales department would need the latest updates on your product offerings but they may not be interested in changes to accounting practices. Similarly, your accountant likely does not need to know the technical specifications of your computers but an IT professional does. By understanding the types of information your employee needs to know, you can avoid wasting their time by providing information that is not needed, which can make them lose respect for you.
Laughter Is Your Friend
Injecting a bit of humour here and there can boost morale and help you bond with your team. However, it is important to keep your jokes appropriate for the workplace. This means that you should probably steer clear of jokes involving race, religion, politics and other sensitive topics. Don't go overboard in this area though; the goal is for your employees to like you, not be your best friend. Keep the mood light but make sure your team members still know they are there to work, not play.
Ask Good Questions
To help you get to know your employees better, ask open-ended questions rather than yes-or-no questions to get them talking. Try to avoid generic questions, like asking about the weather or traffic. Instead, show an interest in the things that your staff are interested in, like local sports teams, vacation destinations and family. When you ask a question, be sure to listen actively. Ask follow-up questions to show that you are engaged with the conversation.
Know When to Switch to Business
Of course, your team will still need to get their work done each day. It is important to recognise when it is time to end a conversation. If your employee is giving short answers or seems distracted, it is probably time to move on from casual conversation and get to the point. Keep your directives short and to-the-point, and always confirm that the person understands what you are asking of them. Make sure they feel comfortable coming to you with questions so there is minimal risk of confusion.
Each person has a different personality. The approach that works best for one employee may not work for others. Experiment with different communication styles to discover what works for each team member. The more you converse with your employees, the easier it will get, so don't be shy. When you have good rapport with your team, you'll have created a better working environment for everyone.