Scenario A: Your boss or team leader sits down at your desk and starts a conversation. They ask how your day is going, what projects you are working on, or if you need additional resources to perform tasks at hand. They keep eye contact, listen to your responses, and offer valuable input or recognition for the progress you are making.
Now let’s take scenario B: Your boss or team leader sits down at your desk and starts this same conversation. Again, they ask how your day is going, what projects you are working on, or if you need additional resources to perform your job. The only difference is they are looking at their watch, talking to other employees as they walk by, or stop the conversation midstream to go about another task.
What’s the difference between these two interactions? Genuineness. In the first scenario, the individual was honestly interested in what you had to say and in the second scenario — not so much. And, it’s not difficult to tell when an individual is being genuine with you. The body language and conversation is natural and unforced, there is no air of superiority over the other person, and an authentic connection is made.
In my book, Engagement, Retention & Growth, I state, “when relationships are genuine, people do not feel tricked, manipulated, coerced, or lied to.” We are emerging from a lengthy recession where genuineness and honesty all but disappeared due to mishandled and sugar coated information regarding layoffs, budget cuts and expensive business development coaching programs. Leaders loudly proclaimed they held values like integrity and honesty in high esteem; however, their actions proved otherwise.
In this post-recession era, individuals now seek leaders, mentors and coworkers who are genuine and honest where authentic workplace relationships can be formed and nurtured. They are seeking “real” relationships where trust is not taken for granted or abused. When there is genuineness in the workplace, it also leads to:
- Cooperation with team activities and tasks
- Transparent and honest communication and dialogs
- Enhanced employee engagement and productivity
- Acknowledgement, gratitude, and appreciation for an individual’s contributions
- Reduced conflict, back stabbing, and hostility in the workplace
So just how do you go about building genuineness into a workplace culture to encourage teamwork?
- Genuinely share with coworkers and managers – let down your guard just a little bit. As Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor wrote in The Happiness Advantage, ‘The more genuinely expressive someone is, the more their mindset and feelings spread.’ Imagine genuineness and honesty being contagious!
- Interactive team building exercises – When you bring groups of people together in a non-threatening atmosphere to uncover skills sets, talents, and workplace issues, you build a collaborative workplace family. You build a culture employees can thrive in.
- Genuinely express yourself – but leave out the criticism and sarcasm. Nothing destroys a budding workplace relationship faster than a sharp tongue! Filter your feedback and present critiques in a positive instead of a negative manner.
- Actively Listen – Deeply hear what a coworker is expressing and rephrase the conversation if necessary to be sure you understand. Everyone likes to be heard and understood.
- Genuinely acknowledge individuals – When there is recognition or praise to be given make sure it is genuine! Show some enthusiasm and leave the canned speeches behind. Celebrate teamwork and individual recognition with something as grand as an awards ceremony or as simple as a pizza party.
When it comes to communication and team work, I couldn’t agree more with leadership coach and bestselling author Margie Warrell when she says, “In today’s culture, where so much emphasis is placed on the superficial, people crave authenticity.”
Business coaches or training consultants looking for proven resources to instill genuineness and honesty in the workplace, consider certification as a licensed TIGERS facilitator. I am looking for dynamic business coaches, internal and external trainers, facilitators, educators, and leadership consultants who are searching for proven resources and solutions to take their organization or consulting business to the next level. With opportunities to “brainstorm” with like-minded thought leaders, utilize the proven TIGERS Team Wheel and an arsenal of team-building resource tools, the “royalty free” TIGERS Facilitation Certification is the solution for the right candidates. Use proven, research-based resources and assessment tools that reveal behavioral issues, sources of conflict, skill sets, strengths, and weaknesses within a team or organization. If you are a consultant or trainer and fit this scenario, I would like to hear from you.
About TIGERS Success Series
TIGERS Success Series is a team development consultancy based on 6 core principles that anchor high performance team dynamics. These principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. TIGERS offers licensing and certification to team building trainers and consultants interested in expanding their practice to serve organizational leaders from the break room to the boardroom. Learn more.