Have you ever sensed that you were not on the same page as your coworkers? It could be anything from a lack of caffeine to a small miscommunication that never got clarified. Either way, things aren't going as well as they could be. Here at CFS, we call this coworker disconnect.
Coworker disconnect has the ability to have a huge impact on the culture and efficiency of any business.
Disconnected working relationships can weigh heavily on productivity, morale, and our general sense of well-being. Plus with the stress of the pandemic and working from home, it's no surprise that you or your colleagues might be more high-strung than normal.
Many assume that change will come from the top down, but it's more likely that coworkers will need to work out their issues themselves–especially if it's something like a series of small bumps in the road.
Here are some steps you can take personally to make things better for you and your colleagues. Use these as a guide to address disconnects at work, and bring your team closer together.
How to Mend Coworker Disconnect:
1. Identify the gap
Can you identify exactly what it is that has gotten in the way of you and your colleagues? Maybe it’s that you missed the last weekly staff meeting, or that you were late to deliver on a project. Spend some time thinking through what’s happening in your workplace and reflect on where the missed connection might be.
For example: one place you could begin your reflection is your approach to recent situations, meetings, or discussions. Is there a way you could be more adaptable or compassionate in certain scenarios? In these trying times, if you have the capacity to meet someone where they are, that just might be what that person needs to get through to the end of the month. And hopefully, if you one day find yourself in a difficult spot, your colleagues will return the same compassion you once offered them.
If you have a trusted coworker that you can confide in, perhaps talk with them to gauge whether or not others feel similarly, or if the issue might be sitting at your desk with you. Maybe the disconnect is more common than you think. (Of course, only do this if it seems appropriate. We don't encourage gossip!)
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.
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2. Promote open communication and positivity
Many of us put off asking for catch-ups with our coworkers because we feel nervous to make the effort, or don't want to impose on somebody else's time. But if you have identified poor communication as a pain point within your organization, it is important to take the time to address it. Sometimes, getting back on the same page is as easy as chatting over coffee and catching up on the week.
You can take this time to be communicative with your team. Being honest will let others know where you stand and oftentimes inspires others to open up a bit as well.
If it's a lack of morale that your team is facing, try spicing up your scheduled “catch-up” with a virtual event for your team. Host a monthly happy hour, or a trivia night. This is a great way to keep up company culture even while working remotely. But make sure your event is easy for everyone to attend by scheduling it for slower weeks or during end-of-day work hours.
3. Propose a regular, scheduled check-ins
One frequent source of disconnects is the absence of regular meetings among staff as well as between staff and management. As companies grow, the informal check-ins that worked with a team of three do not scale, and managers are not used to setting up and running staff meetings.
Regular check-ins 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. Remember that it's been a difficult year for us all, and that you're not alone in feeling disconnected.
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Do you have any ideas on how to end coworker disconnect? Let us know in the comments below! Follow us on Twitter @CFSPlayBook!