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Are You Socially Paralyzed at Work?

How often do you push yourself out of your comfort zone at work?  Oh wait, I'm not just talking about the job you are doing...no, I"m talking about the people you are doing it with!  Are you devoting as much time to appreciating your team members and what they bring to the table?  

It's an easy trap and pattern to fall into when you form office "cliques" and limit your personal interaction to a select few.  It's the corporate hierarchy just like on the playground.  No one wants to be picked last or left out.  So why don't we put as much effort into fostering our social connections with our entire team?  Now, I'm not asking you to start signing up new best friends...I'm thinking a team is only as strong as it's weakest links.  In this case, it may be as simplistic as not knowing someone on the team well enough to appreciate their contributions!  Quickest way to shut someone down is to make them feel like they are an outsider.  Your team should ALL be part of the "in" group!  

So, allow some coffee socials, pizza Fridays, lunch on a bench and of course team building!  Provide as many opportunities for integrating social time as you do for meeting time!  When you give your team a chance to talk about more than just work topics and details...you are building bridges and team bonds.  Remember when the teacher used to switch the entire class seating chart half way through school?  No one was happy...because we were no longer seated by the friends you were "used to".  Yet, by the end of school, you had acquired a new circle of friends to interact with.  

Don't allow yourself to be socially paralyzed at work!  Mix and mingle! Get to know your team members and appreciate them for more than just their job!  

How does your workplace foster the social connection?