It’s an art to keep a team in touch and connected under any circumstances, but COVID has made this doubly challenging: teams’ normal ways of keeping in touch have been disrupted, and new pressures are making people feel detached and out of rhythm.
The key to buffering against these challenges is supporting your team’s need for relatedness. Relatedness is the need all people have to feel close to and cared for by others, and to give that caring as well.
This need often goes unacknowledged in workplaces, because we think of connection as something that happens outside of work with friends and family. But feeling connected with coworkers is critical for building healthy communication and trust that’s essential for any team to perform at its best. And it’s especially critical when times are difficult or it’s not convenient to be connected as a team.
Managers play a key role in setting the tone for their team, especially as it relates to cooperation and communication. Facilitating your team’s experience of relatedness creates an environment where everyone feels connected, that they belong, and that they genuinely want to contribute to the team’s efforts.
The best place to begin is to take interest in your team’s experience of relatedness. The next time you talk to your employees about their work, also ask them about their experience of connection to the team:
Asking these questions will give you the information you need to build relatedness on your team. As a bonus, taking genuine interest in your employees’ experiences will provide an automatic boost to relatedness.
If you want to learn more about enhancing relatedness and other key elements of team success, we’ve recently released a quick online training program that covers this and many other effective management techniques. The training gives you day-to-day best practices that you can put to work immediately, as well as teaching you science-based principles that you can apply to new and unique situations on your team. After all, you know your team best!
Learn more about our online training program: