Mind the Gap: How to Bridge Coworker Disconnect

February 4, 2014
Mind the Gap: How to Bridge Coworker Disconnect

Coworker disconnect  has the ability to have a huge impact on the culture and efficiency of any office.

Have you ever felt like you’re just not on the same page with your coworkers? Maybe you haven’t had enough caffeine – or your boss had too much – but you can’t seem to agree on anything these days. It might be that unclear directions are coming from the top, and everyone is interpreting change differently – or you simply haven’t been given enough direction to know what to do. Either way, things aren’t going so well, and you’re starting to drift toward LinkedIn to start networking for a new job.

Disconnected working relationships can wreak havoc on productivity, morale, and our general sense of well-being. It might seem like change has to come from the top, but there are steps you can take personally to make things better for you and your colleagues. Here are three ways to address disconnects in the workplace.

How To Bridge Coworker Disconnect:

1. Identify the gap

Maybe it’s that you missed the last weekly staff meeting; maybe you’ve never had a staff meeting. Spend some time thinking through what’s happening in your workplace and brainstorming where the missed connection might be. Talk with your coworkers to gauge whether others feel the same way, or if the issue might be sitting at your desk with you. Either way, identifying the issue will help you better understand what the next step should be, and give you a better handle on the situation itself.

2. Schedule a catch-up

Many of us put off asking for meetings with our coworkers because we don’t want to impose on their time. It’s easy to imagine our colleagues sighing, “Not another meeting request from Phil!” – but that’s head trash talking. If you’ve identified poor communication as a pain point within your organization, it’s time to start sitting down and chatting with your team. Sometimes, getting back on the same page is as easy as grabbing a cup of coffee and catching up on the week.

3. Propose a regular check-in

A frequent source of disconnects is a lack of regular meetings among staff and between staff and management. As companies grow, the informal check-ins that worked with a team of three don’t scale, and managers aren’t used to setting up and running staff meetings. These kinds of meetings are especially important in sales, where support and feedback from your team can mean the difference between winning and losing a deal. As a salesperson, proposing a regular check-in with your team will likely be seen as a welcome display of leadership and maturity. And if it helps you get back on the same page, it’s a win-win!

While not every coworker disconnect can be addressed through these three strategies, they’re certainly a start.

It’s easy to feel powerless in a workplace where expectations are unclear and direction is lacking. Taking steps like these can put you back in control of your own professional outcomes, and potentially help all your colleagues and your company work better together.

Do you have any ideas on how to end coworker disconnect? Let us know in the comments below!

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