We’ve already talked a lot about nurturing our employees and developing strong working relationships with our team members. We’ve also talked a lot about good communication and how to transfer business savvy to the next team.
The common element in all this is interaction, but the challenge is how to make time to really get to know your colleagues. The key is to find opportunities throughout the work-day to involve future leaders so you can teach by example and foster the kind of communication that makes a business successful.
We all have to eat lunch. I like to say never go to lunch alone. Always take a junior colleague or a peer with you to share the issues affecting you today, developing that common understanding of what’s going on in the organization.
When you bring new, up-and-coming team members to senior level meetings, you’re introducing them industry leaders and making them a visible part of your brand. This is critically important, not only as a learning opportunity for junior colleagues, but also as a way to transfer the respect and credibility of your organization to the next leadership team.
I’ve found shared business trips an excellent way to develop strong working relationships with new or promising team members. Traveling together means spending a lot of time in airports and restaurants, as well as preparing for meetings. Those hours are not just an opportunity to get to know each other, but also a chance for you to demonstrate a solid work ethic and the other values and expectations of your company. You get to teach by example. You also get to observe how your protégé handles changing circumstances, such as flights being cancelled and things going wrong. You get to see how he or she performs under stress.
The Bottom line
By spending time with your colleagues, especially new candidates for future leadership positions, at lunch, in meetings, and while traveling, you can lay the foundation of strong working relationships that can last for many years.