Great Leaders Connect Their Teams
This week I was reminded that great leaders connect their teams. The company I worked for hit Chapter 7. It will be on the list if you Google COVID Chapter 7 casualties. Really, it was a private equity casualty exacerbated by COVID 19. I always knew that it wouldn’t last forever, but I never thought in my wildest dreams that PE could take out a $1.3B company in such short order.
A realtor needed access to our downtown Chicago location this week and I must tell you it was apocalyptic. As I approached the store, I would normally see the hustle and bustle of commuters walking and riding bikes. This trip all I saw was plywood protecting the local businesses. The Target here was still closed. Already in a funk having to visit this once great store; a two-story beauty with a spectacular view of the skyline, my mood sank even further.
Human Connection The Prescription for Happiness, Well Being and Successful Teams
Always early for meetings I was surprised to see an entourage waiting outside the store when I arrived. This meant, it was time to put on my happy face. The mask provided comfort and protected my true identity and feelings in the moment. As we made our introductions the prospective buyers and realtor were both caught off guard that I wasn’t a ward of the PE group, they weren’t expecting a laid off employee to be their host and their response was overwhelmingly kind. The kindness and empathy shared provided an instant reminder of the power of human connection. Complete strangers a moment ago we were now connected, and an instant relationship of trust was formed.
Amazingly my mood also changed. Of course, my circumstances did not change. I was still unemployed standing in a once great store now vacant. Human connection that we are all wired for proved to be the prescription for happiness and well-being.
Belonging and Connection
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” Fred Rogers
“Love, belonging and connection are the universal sources of true well-being” unknown
My own experience this week reminded me of the importance of human connection. In contrast to the hyper-connectivity we receive from technology. True face to face interaction with another human being. Leaders cannot expect connection; connection is created. To sum up, great leaders take steps to connect their teams.
Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Belonging and connection must be felt if we want to be self-actualized and reach our full potential. In fact, not just encouraging your employees but expecting them to connect on a personal level will strengthen your team and contribute to your long term success. As a result, when each team member feels a sense of belonging their contributions will increase because they will understand that they work they do every day has an impact.
What are some ways great leaders create connectivity on their team?
- Model the behavior. Get to know every member of your team on a personal level. Schedule regular check ins with them, not just for the project you have assigned them, but to stay connected to them as a human being.
- Arrange social events. Get your team together in a fun environment that encourages them to open up and get to know one another. The power of onsite connectivity created by offsite events is incredible.
- Lead with empathy. It’s powerful to see things from the perspective of others. Their feelings of anxiety, stress, pressure is real. As leaders we have to acknowledge our teammates and help them manage through what they are dealing with.
- Attend events. If you receive an invite for a grad party, baby shower, or a birthday show up. If its important to them be there for them and when you’re there be present. Resist checking your email and taking calls.
- Start your meetings on a personal note. Be brief, you have work to do, but start your meetings with a personal check in. Maybe have a round robin sharing one thing everyone did over the weekend. Its amazing how coworkers who may struggle working together may find common interests outside of work that bring them together in the workplace.
In conclusion, great leaders connect their teams creating an engaged workforce that produces superior results.
The Everyday Leader Challenge
This week’s ELC – select a team member you feel the least connected with and schedule a get to know them better session. Post your results to our Facebook page.
“Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are.” Brene Brown