We can’t hear you!
You’re on mute…
Sorry, my Wifi dropped…again!

Connectivity over connection has been a theme for the last 18mths. Phrases like Zoom fatigue have been branded about. Many of us now start to twitch when we see yet another Teams meeting appear in the diary. 

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an all-company meeting. Many delegates had been working for the organisation for a while but had never met many of their colleagues in the flesh. For me, it was exhilarating to be back in the energy field of other human beings. I felt alive and revitalised by the ‘whites of the eyes’ conversations that weren’t separated by a screen. 

For other people, I am sure that 3 days together brought on as much fatigue for them as it did restoration for me. Whatever your preference, it’s time to reconnect and restore relationships not just for your mental health, but for the greater good of your team and organisational goals. 

Creating a true sense of connection brings about many benefits. Not only is it a more enjoyable place to work, but more engaged teams leads to a more productive and profitable organisation. A Society for Human Resource survey found that Management found that 74 percent of the respondents cited their relationship with their manager as being in the top 5 factors in engagement. 

We don’t need to schedule hours of 121 time and create intense conversations that feel contrived and orchestrated. Think marginal gains. Think consistency. Here is a 10 point checklist to connect back to the essential asset in your organisation – your people. 

  1. Sharing is caring – communicating well and often is one thing. Are you allowing space for it to be truly two way? Sharing updates with your team allows for questions, feedback and for them to build on ideas. Find channels of communication that encourage this and give your team members a voice.
  2. Be present – there is nothing that says you don’t matter than someone sat scrolling through their phone or scanning their emails during a conversation. In a world where we are constantly on it can require some discipline. I read a compelling article many years ago about being present with your children, which has stuck with me ever since. When my children come to talk to me, I put my phone or laptop down and give them my full attention or let them know how long I will be. Try it in the workplace and see what happens. 
  3. Show that you care – some people need small talk pleasantries before engaging in a meaningful conversation; others would instead get straight down to business. Find out what is important to them and engage accordingly. Most importantly, do it with genuine interest. If you are not interested in their puppies’ latest trick or their third child’s ballet exam, choose something else. What about the meeting they were worried about last week or the customer complaint that left them reeling?
  4. Appreciative feedback – we often tend to think of feedback in the developmental sense, and it is a trigger word for many. Make an effort to appreciate someone every day. Send them a WhatsApp, leave a post-it note on their desk or spit it out in a conversation. It is also one of the easiest ways to show you care. 
  5. Listen to hear and not to respond – Are you a marginal listener? (See point 2) Are you an interrupter? You may be action-orientated or in a rush, but being fully listened to is very simple and powerful. People need to be seen and heard, and holding the space for someone can be one of the most profound things you can do to create connection. 
  6. Be authentically curious – having listened, get curious. This is how you will move beyond a transactional conversation. Use incisive questions that reveal what is really important to the person in front of you. Understanding someone’s values and beliefs allows you to find common ground that goes beyond the operational agenda. 
  7. Celebrate -sometimes, the small things become the big things. It could be a handwritten card on completing a project, a shout out on social media, a team lunch, time off, a new responsibility. We have all experienced lots of change; mental health has taken a hit, and employees not feeling appreciated is a catalyst to attrition. 
  8. Show vulnerability – vulnerability is key to connection as it takes courage to open up to another human being. Vulnerability comes in many different guises, and you can build trust and connection by admitting your mistakes, sharing when you get it wrong and asking for help. 
  9. Communicate consciously – Open, compassionate and empathic communication helps to build relationships. You have the foundation for effective communication and a strong connection when you show up in a conversation without any drama and with heartfelt dialogue. 
  10. Stop making excuses – building trust, deepening connections and fostering good relationships is not something you need to add to your ‘to-do list. It’s a way of being; it might just need some intention. Stop making excuses that you don’t have time or wait until you see them in person. Do one thing today!

If you have focused on connectivity over connection, maybe this is an opportunity to reset with your team. In the spirit of vulnerability, if you would like some support to accelerate the process and get your team back on track, get in touch hello@jocowlin.com

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