Hone Your Skills

How To Build a Rapport With a New Team as a Manager

September 11, 2022
5 min read

There’s a reason “collaboration” is a buzzword in the workplace these days: Teamwork typically leads to better work. Teams consist of people with diverse backgrounds and strengths. When managed effectively, these individuals can complement and support one another, leading to collaboration that moves your company forward. 

One of the most important aspects of being a good manager is learning to build a rapport among your team. If your team works productively and happily together, it will yield excellent results for the company. If teamwork is fractured, you’ll likely constantly struggle to meet organizational goals, much less surpass them.

Poised explains how you can build a rapport with your new team and grow into an effective manager. 

What Is Essential for Building Rapport as a New Manager?

The last thing you want to deal with as a new manager is a low engagement rate or decreasing productivity among your team. One surefire way to keep that from happening is to develop a good rapport with your colleagues.

Here are some top tips for building rapport and building strong relationships and mutual trust with your coworkers:

Building Relationships With Your Coworkers

Relationships in the workplace matter. You might spend more time with your coworkers than you spend at home. This makes great relationships of the utmost importance. 

Collaboration is critical for any organization that wants to meet milestones and accomplish short-term and long-term goals. You’ll be hard-pressed to facilitate effective teamwork without first building relationships with your team members. You can do this through shared experiences, asking the right questions, and being reliable.

There’s a certain authority and dynamic that comes with being a team leader. Becoming buddy-buddy with your employees and approaching collaboration too casually can do more harm than good.

The key is to set reasonable expectations and provide clear guidance for any team members who need it without being overbearing. You can be authoritative without being authoritarian.

Also, remember that communication runs both ways in harmonious relationships. Devote a lot of time and energy to listening to your employees and showing them you care about their ideas, opinions, and concerns.

Building Trust With Your Coworkers

You can’t have effective teamwork, high productivity, and enhanced engagement without laying a foundation of trust with your colleagues. Actively listening to what your team members think and need can go a long way in building trust. But there are plenty of other ways to prove yourself trustworthy and encourage trust among your team members.

For example, trust your crew. Give direction when it’s necessary, but allow them to execute and find their own rhythm. Be consistent in establishing and communicating your expectations, and freely share any information or skills you’ve learned instead of holding back your expertise. Remember to praise your coworkers when it’s due and never take credit for anyone else’s idea.

Making a Strong First Impression

Making a good first impression is perhaps the most challenging aspect of transitioning into your new role as a manager. Many leaders try to establish their authority too aggressively upfront, which doesn’t do much for commanding trust and building rapport with colleagues.

Instead of projecting false confidence, show genuine energy, enthusiasm, and interest in what your team members are doing. You can do this with your mannerisms, facial expressions, and other forms of nonverbal communication.

Also, leave yourself accessible and practice active listening when people share concerns. Being a good listener is essential for rapport-building and strong working relationships.

Showing Genuine Interest in Others

People can detect phonies from a mile away, especially if they have high emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. Chances are your team will know whether you genuinely care about them or are just being nice to influence people.

If you want to be a manager that employees trust and want to work for, you must show that you really care about their ideas, opinions, and well-being. Make time to meet with each of your team members one-on-one, and develop a habit of learning about their lives as you collaborate on projects.

Be intentional about asking each individual for their ideas and opinions during brainstorming sessions. And don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humor into the workplace!

Using Non-Verbal Cues To Convey Openness

You don’t want to appear closed off to your team members in virtual or in-person meetings. Pay attention to your nonverbal cues to ensure they convey openness. It can be hard to honestly gauge our own facial expressions, which is why AI programs can help clue you into what you might be missing.

Several strategies can help you appear more approachable, including:

  • Making eye contact 
  • Smiling
  • Nodding while others speak
  • Keeping your head up 
  • Avoiding nervous habits like fidgeting or excessive moving 
  • Keeping your palms up while speaking

Asking Meaningful Follow-Up Questions

Employing the right nonverbal cues will do wonders for showing your colleagues that you’re actively listening and engaged in what they’re saying. But take it to the next level by asking thoughtful follow-up questions about their ideas or concerns. Open-ended questions are the ideal place to start. 

Think about questions concerning each team member's growth and development, motivation, challenges, and productivity. Try to gauge whether your management style clashes with their work style or personality. Always, always ask your employees if there is anything you can do to improve the workplace culture.

Getting Past the Small Talk and Ice-Breakers

Small talk is no one's ultimate goal in communication, but it can be a powerful tool for getting to know someone. Just don’t stay there for too long. Show genuine interest when talking with your colleagues, and don’t be afraid to throw in an icebreaker or two to take the conversation to a deeper level.

Finding Common Ground

Finding common ground is essential to collaboration. And you might be surprised how much in common you have with your colleagues. Look for opportunities to agree or see from their point of view, and it will help things go smoother when you disagree. It will also help you set and work toward common goals together.

Build Good Rapport With Help From Poised

Building good rapport with your new team as a manager can be challenging, but the time and effort you put into cultivating healthy relationships will pay off big in the long run. Remember the advice above as you get to know and establish trust with your teammates.

And turn to a communication skills coach like Poised to facilitate better collaboration in the workplace.


Work-Life Balance: Tips to Reclaim Control | Mayo Clinic

An Overview of Body Language for Social Anxiety | Verywell Mind

Fun Questions To Use As Ice Breakers in Meetings | The Balance

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