Although some people seem to be able to connect with others without any effort at all, it is a skill we can all develop and it’s a really important one because when we’ve built a rapport with someone it is easier to work with them and relate to them.
Try doing the personality test on www.16personalities.com for a pretty accurate picture of yourself and how you prefer to work with others – it’s really helpful!
On a team, the rapport between people often makes the difference in how productive and co-operative they are. That makes for a better atmosphere for everyone concerned – a win-win situation when we spend most of our time with our work colleagues.
What does rapport look like? It definitely means being able to empathise with others. We don’t have to agree with how they feel but we can at least try to understand them and see things from their perspective.
We have to actively build rapport with our boss, our colleagues, our clients and our suppliers. We have a different relationship with each of them which needs our attention to ensure that it’s as positive and productive as possible.
Boss – obviously, the boss is in charge, so deserves respect and has the authority to make the decisions. If you disagree, you should approach the boss with a non-threatening attitude, bringing constructive suggestions rather than criticism. Seek constructive feedback on your performance and be in tune with the objectives of the organisation to make sure that your own objectives are contributing to the overall goals and plans.
Colleagues – learning to work collaboratively can take time, but it’s worth it. It means understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses and tolerating each other’s annoying work habits!
Clients – we know that the customer is always right, so we must make sure that we listen carefully to their requests and are pro-active in meeting their current and future needs – if we mirror (not mimic!) their communication style and get on their wavelength, we will build rapport much more quickly.
Suppliers – it’s also important to maintain a good relationship with regular suppliers because that ensures getting the best service and value from them.
Family and friends – don’t forget your nearest and dearest! When we’re off guard we don’t always make the effort to connect with those around us in a way that meets everyone’s needs.