3 Easy Steps To Develop Rapport With Employees

3 Easy Steps To Develop Rapport With Employees

How To Connect With Your Employee And Develop Rapport

Rapid Rapport MeetingIf you don’t actually care about your employees, stop here. None of this works if your employees can tell it’s not genuine. Alright, you’re still reading. Good!

The first step to understanding, connecting, and developing rapport with your staff is to hold Rapid Rapport Meetings, also known as 1:1 Connection Meetings, within the first week of your new role. If you are playing catch up, then schedule them during the very next opening in your calendar. This is a great way to build rapport and trust and prevents them from feeling like they are in trouble every time they are called in to the office. This also makes you appear more approachable.

I wanted to meet with you today, one-on-one, so we can get to know each other better.

During your 1:1 Connection Meetings divide your time in to thirds. First time meetings take longer and require more facilitating. Allow one hour and schedule a buffer of 15 to 30 minutes between meetings to allow for run-over and a brief mental decompression. It’s important to be fresh for the next one-on-one. Catch up meetings tend to flow more smoothly and can be scaled down to 30 minutes. Set the tone for the meeting and ensure it is distraction free. Lead your first connection meeting with: “I wanted to meet with you today, one-on-one, so we can get to know each other better. I’d like to spend roughly 10 minutes talking about whatever you would like, 10 minutes talking about how I can be a more effective leader, and 10 minutes talking about your ambitions and career path goals.” Although this will take closer to 20 minutes during the first meeting, still say 10 to allow for over-run.


Step 1) Let’s Talk About You

First time connection meeting: What do you want me to know about you, personally and professionally? Follow-up connection meetings: What do you want to talk about today? How’s your family? How was your rehearsal last night?

If needed, get the employee talking about themselves using ice-breakers. This brings their guard down and helps open them up to provide great feedback later. Listen, take Notes, and ask questions. Don’t get too personal, just show that you are actively listening.

You have to know your employees to engage with them in a meaningful way. Utilize this information during coaching and development discussions. You can also use this info during your daily morning check in: “Hey Jim, how did Timmy’s soccer game go last night?” Little things like this can go a very long way.


Step 2) Let’s Talk About Me

First time connection meeting: What do you want to know about me? How can I make things better here?Follow-up connection meeting: How am I doing? How can I improve. Here’s what I need help with. Don’t make this about results and do not coach them. This is neither the time nor the place.

Instead, this is an opportunity to show that you are a person, just like them, who is here to perform well and accomplish goals. It’s your opportunity to share what your goals are, what you’re currently working on, and, most importantly, how they can help. Invite them to share feedback on how you’re doing. Listen and don’t get defensive. Take notes and ask questions.



Step 3) Let’s Talk More About Your Future

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? Most people have goals, ambitions, and driving factors that motivate them. It’s your job to understand these. Ask questions to learn about what they are doing here. Where they want to be. How you can help them get there. Don’t take the easy answers here. Really dig deep. Express a commitment to helping them with the pieces that you can.

… What motivates you to get more money?

Whatever you do, don’t be negative. Some people won’t open up right away or will give you one-word answers like “Money.” Great, that’s a start now ask follow-up questions. “I can definitely help you make more money. What motivates you to get more money?” Lead them if necessary, they’ll usually open up.


Why It Works

The information learned in your rapid rapport meetings will give you great insight in to what your employee’s values are. Just think about how effective it would be to be able to break down their goals, during their performance meetings, in to tangible, bite-size pieces and help them get there. Showing a genuine interest in your employees personal and career aspirations is invaluable. Use these best practices and start forming lasting connections that will help you boost employee engagement and results.

Want to see how this fits in to being an effective leader? Check out “5 Tips For Effective Leadership” for more information.

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