Are you ever worried that you might not have the level of trust with your colleagues that would grant you the benefit of the doubt in awkward situations?

Sometimes we feel like one of our coworkers is always assuming the worst about us. Why did they respond to my email as if my message to them was an attack? They didn’t. It’s actually because you haven’t created a strong connection with that person, so you just never get the benefit of the doubt. That’s why it’s always worth investing in a stronger connection—but how?

The first and best way to create connection is to have some downtime, particularly downtime when you can break bread together. Biologically, eating with someone actually strengthens your connection to them. If it’s a remote teammate, just get on that Zoom call, drink coffee, eat muffins, it still works.

Another way to create connection is to share personal things, like casually sharing something you really enjoyed on Netflix recently, or your favorite new TikToker. It can be something very casual, but it creates a connection around your own style.

I have a tool called the Owner’s Manual. It helps you communicate with your colleagues about things like the best way to interact with you and what your habits and idiosyncrasies are. Sharing that and creating a conversation about the Real You can really help foster a connection.

It’s worth it to invest in a strong connection, because the next time you send an email that could be interpreted in different ways, they’re going to interpret it in a way that’s much more positive. When you say something in a meeting, they’re going to cut you some slack instead of assuming the worst.

Having a strong connection with your colleagues means you’ll get the benefit of the doubt in a variety of situations. One of the most important situations these days where you can either get the benefit or not is when you get caught being distracted. Think about it; distraction erodes connection—it’s a very bad thing. It affects your reputation for the worse.

Take a minute and check out this resource on all the ways that being distracted may be affecting you, and the things you can do to be less distracted so that it doesn’t ruin the connections you’ve built with your colleagues.

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Next Video: How to Handle Distraction in the Workplace