It is true: Bonds of trust grow organically between people when they have regular, in-person interactions over time. But beware: So, too, can mistrust develop under the same conditions.

To believe teammates will automatically build stronger relationships because they work in the same building is as risky as moving to Southern California and thinking you will automatically become more physically fit.

I speak from personal experience: I assure you the above does not happen.

Yes, environment matters. But there is still one ingredient to building relationships that matters more: intentionality.

To miss leveraging the phase when your team returns to the office is to risk returning to the “normal” dysfunctional aspects of your pre-covid culture.

The window of opportunity to elevate the relational bonds you need to operate as one team won’t stay open long. The goodwill granted to fellow employees will predictably slide to “oh, it’s you again” interactions.

That is why now is the time to deliberately elevate the new norms of relationships you want to see the team sustain long term. First, ask: “How do we raise the bar on our culture?” Then, ask teammates what it looks like to do these three things even in the toughest of moments:

  • Bring their best to every interaction
  • Bring out the best in others in daily discussions.
  • Partner across the enterprise to deliver shared objectives.

Transitions are priceless opportunities to change for the better. What is the evolved working dynamics that you know the team needs to succeed? This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.

P.S. On August 3rd at 8am MST, I’ll be hosting the inspired Sean Westcott, Senior Vice President R&D Europe – Pepsico,  on our Collaborative Leader’s Huddle. He’s got a concept he calls “leading through the keyhole.” As your team enters a new era of workplace dynamics, now’s the perfect time to build your skills. You can join the energizing discussion for free here.

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