Authenticity, Communication, Engagement & Collaboration

4 workplace behaviors that strengthen professional relationships

By Marc Joseph  |   Mar 18, 2015

In this profession we often hear folks grumble that the leaders just don’t get it. Leaders make decisions that don’t make sense. Leaders don’t seem to care. Or, we hear from leaders that the workforce just doesn’t get it, the workforce thinks decisions are made in a vacuum, or some combination thereof.

It’s rare that people wake up each day and quickly determine how to make things worse. In fact, the opposite is likely true. People want to improve themselves, their organization, their community—we want, in short, to be part of a winning team—but we’re human. We all make mistakes.

It’s a fact: Today’s workforce wants more autonomy. And, as it should be, law enforcement in general is being held accountable during these turbulent times. We must continue to accomplish the mission, be creative, foster a good working environment and develop strong professional relationships—despite unfair scrutiny and criticism. Easier said than done.

Following are four tips that can help.

Authenticity: Be yourself! Authenticity includes consistently being approachable, honest, sincere, helpful and trustworthy. As a leader, your role is to coach and mentor. People want feedback. If you don’t speak up, your hesitation, silence or volcanic eruption will drive you apart from your team. In most cases, give constructive feedback in private and praise in public.

Communication: Superior listening skills are critical. Sometimes people just want to vent. Just listening often works well. Make a conscious effort to let people talk. Remember: You don’t have to solve every problem or know the answer to every question. If you need time to obtain more information, reflect or ponder, just make sure that you close the loop with some timely feedback.
It’s also extremely important to keep people updated on projects, proposals, and current events.

Important: Avoid spreading rumors! It’s tempting, especially as you try to relate to your peers, to partake in the gossip. Resist the temptation, and listen rather than speak.

Be respectful, even if you’re in a hurry. If you have to run, make a specific time to meet back up. Also, if something isn’t right, say something. Lack of communication—or failure to address inappropriate behavior—can lead to bad outcomes, especially in this profession.

Casual conversation is good. More often than not, people like to share things about themselves. Find some topics in common or be professionally inquisitive toward learning about others.

Resist the temptation to constantly talk just about yourself or the urge to talk how you did something bigger or better. If you feel yourself slipping, stop yourself midsentence and switch gears.

Remember: How you say something and/or your body language can be very powerful.

Engagement: Active engagement by all members of any organization is critical to the organization’s success. Law enforcement has risen to its most professional point in history. Yes, we have a lot of work to do in many areas, and that’s why it’s important to show up to work each day with a plan to remain actively engaged on all fronts.

For leaders, it’s equally important to allow people to have input in their job.

Remember: Every once in a while we all need some rest and relaxation. If you’re leading others, it’s your job to ensure that your team members get time to refresh and stay healthy. Create some enjoyable opportunities for breaks from the routine of the work. If you can, plan a trip off-site to learn and strengthen internal, and external, professional relationships.

Collaboration: Companies like Google, for example, didn’t become monumental without the collaborative efforts of the hardworking and creative people within it. Although some business decisions were finalized by the executives of the organization, you’d likely find that the executives of Google would say that most of the creativity for new products and services flows from within the masses of people not listed on the organizational chart.

Actively demonstrate your commitment to collaboration, even if it takes a little longer to get where you want to be. Inclusiveness brings people together. After all, you might end up with a new or better idea.

It doesn’t take much but awareness to change habits and develop the skills to be a better leader and team member. This stuff is contagious. Treat your colleagues well and engage their perspective, and you might soon be surprised by the rewards your organization will reap.

Start with one of the four areas whether it is authenticity, communication, engagement or collaboration. Give some thought on how you can infuse some of the simple concepts into your activities starting now.

Remember: It takes conscious effort over a period of time to effectively make positive transformation. You will likely see smiles on some faces as you more effectively interact with others.

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Marc Joseph
Marc Joseph recently retired as a 26-year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). Marc has an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, a bachelor’s degree in Administrative Leadership, and a master’s in Administrative Leadership.
Marc Joseph

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