Building rapport with your team: It’s easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)

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What if you could get along with everyone you met?  From the super quiet people to those folks who are hyper chatty?  I’ve talked about using personality tests to increase your team chemistry previously and believe that this is the secret to building rapport with your team.  I follow the DiSC method of personality testing, but know that there are many different tests out there.  Whichever you decide on using, the result should be a higher level of understanding for you of what makes different people tick and how to put the various personality types at ease.  Here’s a quick DiSC refresher…for more in depth discussion, click on this link to the post about personality tests and team chemistry.

D:  Strong and direct decision makers.
i:  Your people of influence.
S: Your sensitive and steady Eddy’s.
C:  Your conscientious and careful workers.

Even if you aren’t able to test (you can’t test everyone you know!), just having the knowledge for yourself will be extremely helpful.  Knowing your own personality type as well as how it meshes with the others will give you a game plan for building the rapport you desire with your team.  Let’s go over how to build that rapport and at the end of each tip is a recommendation of which personality types would respond most positively to the tip…that certainly doesn’t mean that others won’t appreciate the effort though!

5 easy ways to build rapport with your team.

Building rapport tip #1: Be human and approachable. Even if you are the leader or the expert, be sure to maintain your level of approachability and openness.  Always remember that as a coach, you’ve got the upper hand of power in your relationship with your team, therefore it’s your job to build the bridge of rapport.  Good for i, S.

Building rapport tip #2: Care about them. Your athletes want to believe that you care for them as people…not just for the particular grouping of skills that they have.  Spend time talking to them about their classes or their parents or whatever.  I’ve got a young lady on my team who loves the TV show Glee and we’ve been able to bond over our mutual love of the show.  Good for i, S.

Building rapport tip #3: Have them over to your house. Break out of the monotony of the office or the gym or the field and bring them over to your house for dinner.  Not only will they get to see your other side, they’ll appreciate time to hang with you without “talking shop” being the goal.  Good for i, S.

Building rapport tip #4: Support them in things that aren’t a direct benefit to you. Do you have players who are in the orchestra or who dance or who are involved in student government?  Whatever it is, surely they have interests in things that don’t involve you…ask them about it!  Attend whatever correlating functions go along with their activity.  That way, when you tell them that you care about them (tip #2!), they’ll believe you.  Good for D, i, S, C.

Building rapport tip #5: Ask them what they think. Some folks are bossy and love the opportunity to give their opinion.  Others are quiet ruminators and won’t give their opinions unless asked…and then you’ll be amazed at the depth of their opinions.  Either way, taking the time to ask will be noted and appreciated.   Good for D, C.

Now let’s get out there and start building some rapport!  Let me know if you’ve got any other ideas or strategies.

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