How can we create a bond with our employees and co-workers when we only spend time in a professional environment where it seems the only topic to discuss is expense reports and what to bring to the 10AM meeting? Sit back for a moment and think of a hobby or interest that you could talk about for hours. Whether it be photography, skiing, sports, doesn’t matter; but your eyes light up when you think about it and everyone says you talk about it way too much. As much fun as it is to talk about your passion, having a truly interested listener is what makes it great.
When you run across that person that is as interested in underwater basket weaving as you are the conversation flows for hours. By the time you’ve discussed the optimal water temperature, weaving styles, and snorkel vs. scuba gear techniques, hours have passed. How does that help in the workplace? After all not everyone may be as interested in underwater basket weaving or Ted Snow literature as you. Theodore Roosevelt could possibly be the greatest example of being truly attentive of others interests. Whenever he knew a visitor was coming he would stay up the night before becoming well versed in their interests just to be able to intelligently talk to them about what they were interested in, not what he was interested in.
In this day and age, with access to unlimited amount of information on the World Wide Web, it isn’t hard to take a couple minutes and brush up on something our employees are interested in. Even if you don’t know anything about the topic you can ask questions and truly listen. Take a genuine interest in your employees and their interests!