4 Keys for Creating Connections
Surveys around the globe steer the conversation about workplace engagement and employee retention as well as our general health and well-being in life and relationships. With 58 percent of managers reporting they did not receive any management training (2018 study from CareerBuilder.com). Many bosses believe people leave because of money, 89 percent sited in Leigh Branham’s book, “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave” while in truth the real statistic is 12 percent of employees leave an organization for more money.
A Harvard Business Review survey states, “people trust strangers more than their own bosses”, 58 percent to be exact. And 79 percent of the people who quit their jobs indicate that a “lack of appreciation’ is their primary reason for leaving.
It’s clear that a lack of connection is costing people and organizations valuable resources and results, not to mention the impact on overall health.
What is transparent about all the data that is being reported? First, let’s acknowledge that a disengaged employee is not equivalent to a “bad” employee. And while there are a number of things causing “a lack” of genuine connection at work, most of these can be summarized as a lack of communication. Specifically, a lack of direction, feedback, productive coaching, and even just getting to know one another as real people. Often there is a disconnect translating the organization’s core values and mission with employees and customers. Much of which begins with incomplete on-boarding communication and check-ins. This require making a real-time commitment of time without distractions.
What can we do about this? How can we be more approachable?
Commit to making it a priority is number one. This begins with you. Applying the “4 Keys for Creating Connection” as part of your individual or leadership development practice is another step in a brilliant direction forward.
Key 1: Authentic Acceptance
A simple way to put this into practice is to be authentic with yourself. Identify how you connect with others? Or if this is something you need to work on to be more approachable. What do you respect about your communication style? What are you working on to improve? How can you be more accepting of others who may have a different style than you? Or one that you may not prefer? Accepting means respecting.
Key 2: Radiate Energy & Openness
Be accessible. This means really showing up. Find ways to be naturally energized about making a connection with someone else, no matter who they are, and yes, this can be difficult, but remember accepting means respecting. See it as a way to be innovative and creative, not just a check off, from your “must do” list. Stay open and show this through your body language. “Look up” from your screens and devices and make eye contact. There is no greater way to let someone know you are not open or available than to have your head pointed down towards your mobile phone. Many people see this as a sign that you do not value them, or respect their time. Also, it’s amazing how much a genuine smile can truly make a difference.
Key 3: Empathy
If this does not come naturally for you, consider this simple definition for being more aware of empathy, and how it can help you make a connection. Empathy is caring about someone’s experience. It means listening and imaging what it may be like to have this experience. No one can ever really know what it’s like to think, feel, or experience another person’s situation, yet it makes a difference if you care enough to listen in order to understand, not just to form an opinion or make judgment of the person or their situation. It means leaving room for the human experience.
Key 4: Genuine Curiosity
When the pace of work is more often defined by reactions it is essential to have reminders to pivot your thinking into a more curious point of view. Curiosity is the desire to learn, it demonstrates genuine interest, and inquisitiveness. Beware of jumping into criticism or assessments, this can come later. Consider how you will remind yourself to stay open and remain curious before an interaction or meeting? Try writing down the words “genuine curiosity” or “be curious” before you begin talking with someone, this habit will remind yourself to remain committed to your development practice.
Recognition is the number one thing employees say that their managers can do to inspire them to produce great work. With 53 percent of our American workforce reported as currently “unhappy at work” (The Conference Board), it’s time we all contribute to the change we need.
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Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the CONNECTING menu.