Rapport May Make the Difference!



In most areas of life, whether it is sports, family or the work environment, groups or teams perform best when there is harmony, mutual respect and a common enjoyment and appreciation of each other’s contribution. The dictionary defines rapport as “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well” and it is the cement that holds well performing teams together. Especially during times of change is rapport critical to successful transformations, enhancing buy-in and gaining credibility with the team.

The question is how to build rapport as leaders with our teams. It may very well be that building rapport has as much to do with telling our story as leaders as anything else. But not just telling our story, but knowing when.Rapport May be the Answer

Call a time out on your ego – Lead by example

Robin Dreeke was head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program. In his book “It`s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone.”  he simply and clearly spells out methods for connecting with people.

He says:

Suspending your ego is nothing more complex than putting other individuals’ wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own. Most times, when two individuals engage in a conversation, each patiently aits for the other person to be done with whatever story he or she is telling. Then, the other person tells his or her own story, usually on a related topic and often times in an attempt to have a better and more interesting story. Individuals practicing good ego suspension would continue to encourage the other individual to talk about his or her story, neglecting their own need to share what they think is a great story… Those individuals who allow others to continue talking without taking their own turn are generally regarded as the best conversationalists. These individuals are also sought after when friends or family need someone to listen without judgment. They are the best at building quick and lasting rapport.

Manage Your Expectations

Mr . Dreeke continues – When we are able to shift or manage our expectations, we reduce potential disappointment. When we are disappointed, we sometimes get angry and may even hold grudges and get hurt feelings. These emotions are not conducive to healthy or long term relationships. These emotions are definitely not conducive to developing quick rapport. The best technique to avoid these emotions is to manage expectations.

So clearly we are not approaching team building as an FBI interrogation, but the points ring true. Great leaders lead by example. Especially during times of change is rapport critical to successful transformations, enhancing buy-in and gaining credibility with the team. Do you want your team to excel – manage your expectations and call a time out on your ego!

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After 20 years of progressive leadership within the Canadian Public Service, as an executive and thought leader, Bruce has turned his attention to full time writing, speaking, training and business advisory services. Focusing his work on his long term passion for leadership development, has led to an ongoing focus on exploring current leadership topics through his leadership blog TheModernLeader.ca, and his newly released book - Leadership Hack: Leading the Millennial Tribe. Bruce holds two masters degrees, along with a professional designation in project management. Bruce calls Ottawa, Ontario Canada home, where he shares his life with his wife Susan, and his two university aged daughters.

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