A common culprit: ego. Even the most pleasant, engaging folks sometimes let their egos erase their better qualities. Beware of these rapport-ruining behaviors:
1. Playing “Topper.” When someone tells a fun anecdote, listen and enjoy. Don’t rush to top it. Example: Joe discusses his kid’s soccer game. You pipe up to brag about how your kid scored the winning goal last weekend.
2. Lecturing. A co-worker shares his struggles trying to master a new software program or follow a recipe. You should nod and empathize, but instead you interrupt to give unsolicited advice. Even if you’re an expert and you’re itching to chime in, wait until someone asks for help.
3. Taking yourself too seriously. A good-natured colleague gently jokes about a mistake you made. Laugh along. Don’t take offense or defend yourself. The thick skin you’ve developed as a manager should be able to hold your ego in check.