• A good conversation is a joint effort, with each person building on the other, and this ‘construction’ of trust and cooperation does not have any space for competitiveness or one-upmanship.
  • When we try to impress, disagree with, or argue with the other person with an aim to 'win', we do not deepen our relationship.
  • Winning an argument is a temporary win and a loss in the long run.
  • We need to aim for creating mutual knowledge instead of making the other person subscribe to our mindset.
Sebastian  (@sebastian_m358) - Profile Photo




Coworkers And Conversations
  • Workplace conversation used to take place near the water cooler, usually involving current events, sitcoms, or the weather.
  • The pandemic shifted most of the communication in the hands of technology with Zoom, Slack and email being our only channels to converse with coworkers.
  • The conversation has deteriorated by being an online exclusive deal. It feels transactional and highly superficial.
  • Small talk stays small, and there are fewer trust-based, genuine human relationships at the workplace.

Certain discussions without any particular agenda are important to build a relationship with a colleague. It gives employees a chance to get to know each other, sharing certain aspects of their experience and personal lives that they would not otherwise.

One can invite a colleague to lunch or coffee, without the need of having any key points to cover.

The shared understanding that builds relationships starts with genuine, active listening, which is a neglected art in a world filled with distractions and multitasking.

  • Turn your phone into aeroplane mode and go somewhere to talk to a colleague where people would not interrupt you.
  • Reset your mindset about what a discussion is, as we are trained only to listen long enough to load our ‘reply’ rifle.
  • Only paying surface-level attention to your colleague and waiting for your turn is not going to cut it, and one has to pay real attention here.

Before the epidemic, this persona was already interested in working away from the office some of the time. They value their work community but find that time away from the office also increases engagement and empowerment.

This worker will likely be interested in spending two to three days in the office. Leaders need to understand how to manage someone who is sometimes at home that won't disrupt other team members.

This employee is comfortable working remotely full time. They may come in for a special meeting or engagement but prefer to work at home.

The challenge for managers is to make sure those workers feel connected and included.

The wellness addicts value their work-life balance and health. Before the pandemic, this employee embraced remote work. While the experience-lover prefers more days in the office, the wellness addict prefers more days at home.

These employees need a company that will allow them to create a good balance.

Building the workplace of the future

During the pandemic, companies had to rethink how to engage employees when they couldn't physically be together.

Now that they bring teams back, not all employees want to return to the way things were. Companies need unique office environments that encourage collaboration for a hybrid workforce. Managers should consider the work personas to create new arrangements.

From an HR perspective, employees must be kept engaged and connected.

  • The experience lover, wellness addict, and free spirit will rely on technology to collaborate with coworkers. Key tools include video conferencing and project management platforms.
  • Leaders need training and intake tools to understand the personas on their teams. Employees want to align with companies that share their values. If you don't consider employees needs, you risk losing them to companies that do.

This person wants to get back to the office most of the time.**

The traditional office worker is not attracted to flexibility or rotating schedules. If this worker manages other teams, they need to take extra effort to recognise that their team members may have different personas.

The first step of incorporating wins and failures into agile is creating a safe environment where all feedback will be encouraged and welcomed.

  • As for feedback, accept it gracefully, and use it to grow - even if it is difficult to hear. When you lead by example, your team will follow.
  • Banish blame. Don't point fingers when something goes wrong on your team. If the team is worried they'll be reprimanded, they will be less likely to take risks. Instead, reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Identify any threats to psychological safety and deal with them immediately. It takes one person to create a hostile and unsafe environment, for example, by yelling at or shaming people when they make mistakes.
  • Celebrating wins are important because they help keep the team's morale up. When teams move quickly from one project to another, it can feel like a joyless process without deliberate celebrations.
  • Success may occur on a new experiment, and the team might want to pour more effort into it in the future. Without celebration, these moments may pass unnoticed and unexploited.
  • Identifying woes is important because it allows teams to notice what's not working, allowing them to make the necessary changes.

To make the most of celebrating the wins and failures, share them with other teams and co-workers. It can increase morale and get your team the recognition they deserve.

Public "kudos" boards, where the entire organization can post, can be a great visual. Sharing challenges with the rest of your company may feel difficult, but the learning opportunity can help the entire organization.

When you celebrate wins and failures, your team should walk away with an actionable plan to change things moving forward.

Teams want to be left alone to do the work and be trusted that they can do it. If you desire this practice to lead to growth within your team, give them the autonomy to make those changes.

... and celebrate them every few weeks.

The maximum time between these retrospectives should be three weeks. Any longer and people will start to forget the realities of the situation. Newer teams that are still finding their groove should schedule more frequent meetings.

The agile framework

The agile framework is about optimizing performance. One way to inspire that improvement and help teams grow in the process is by celebrating wins and setbacks.

Addressing failures is about listening to your team members' challenges and then finding ways to remove the obstacles. It's about hearing what they need to do things right, then providing it.

For example, if your team missed a major deadline, ask more in-depth questions to determine where the bottleneck happened, such as communicating with other stakeholders. Consider tools that enable better communication and collaboration between teams.

Most organization will fill positions internally with people they are familiar with and trust, rather than taking a greater risk with an outsider.

Think strategically about all your social media profiles and posts. Consider what is likely to impress a potential employer, such as your achievements and awards, the teams you are part of, and volunteer activities.

Look for opportunities to do something for your connection.

When someone connects with you on LinkedIn, thank them and ask if there is anything you can do for them. It can lead to valuable connections and partnerships. Always follow up your meeting with a thank-you note.

Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to find people in your field or industry you want to work for. Look at their profile for anything similar that you can connect with, such as similar goals or interests.

Then reach out. Ask if you can have a bit of their time to ask some questions. If they agree, ensure to have well-prepared questions. The purpose is to gather information and make a connection, not to pitch yourself.

Emotional intelligence and networking

The way we search for jobs has changed over the last few years. According to research, 85% of jobs are filled through networking, not through looking for postings and applying directly.

Networking is not easy to do, especially for those who are naturally more introverted. It requires you to put yourself out there. With the right strategy, time, effort, and patience it can result in obtaining the job you want. Using your emotional intelligence can help you to network effectively.

The sooner you start networking, the more potential results will come your way. Maintain your connections by looking for opportunities to support the people in your network.

Write positive reviews and let them know. Add comments on their blogs and posts. Acknowledge and compliment them on any promotions they receive. Even if the connection does not lead anywhere, you've gained experience that will help in future efforts.

A company's culture can be found online. Companies will have a mission, vision, and culture statement available online. Job seekers should pay attention to the nuances of language.

  • Pay attention to how postings are written. The wording can reveal beliefs and priorities. For example, perks like happy hours may indicate a lack of work-life balance.
  • Use a gender bias decoder. Job descriptions that focus on words like competitive, dominant, or leader may lower female candidates' responses.
  • Check out job review boards like Glassdoor. Reading anonymous reviews from current and former employees will give you insight.
  • Do some digging on social media. Scroll back to times of controversy or uncertainty to see how they reacted to social movements, civil unrest, racism, or public health matters.

Whether your interview is in-person or virtual, prepare specific questions to get more detailed answers on the culture. For example:

  • When someone drops the ball on a project, how does your team handle it?
  • When there is a conflict cross-functionally, how do people sort it out?
  • When people are working remotely, how does the company ensure there is a sense of community?

Knowing how a company answered specific questions (even if they responded vaguely) will give you a better idea of what to expect if you accept the offer.

Job searching: Consider the company's culture

When you want to work for a company, its culture might be the most important thing to consider during your search.

Culture refers to an organization's shared beliefs and values. It is often established by leaders and reinforced through various methods. You will want to find a culture that aligns with your values and will give you a sense of purpose.

If you have already accepted an offer, intentionally seek out information by creating opportunities to connect with others. Some companies may need a few nudges to provide a more inclusive onboarding experience.

Before your first day, ask:

  • Are there are any handbooks or other resources to help me learn more about the company?
  • What social platforms are the organization active on?
  • Is there anyone on the team who want to pair up with me, as a remote onboarding buddy?

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