Aristotle asserted long ago in his Politics: “Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”
Social connections are an equally important need to our survival and fulfillment as the need for food, safety, and shelter. The recent developments have seen a society that is growing exponentially in some parts of the world prosperous and individualistic, though the social connections are weakening. Consequences of these do show in the workplaces as well: We are volunteering less. We do not make friends at work. We work remotely and in our own little bubbles in the open offices. As a result, interaction, communication and engagement of employees has decreased.
As mentioned previously in the article from my colleague on listening with curiosity, it is vital that we listen and pay attention and be mindful to the people surrounding us. And adding on that, starting with deep listening, we create connections. We are seen for who we are. We feel we belong. We tend to give our best when we are seen and acknowledged.
Connection happens when all are aligned with the cause; the values; the vision of the workplace; and relate to one another at a deeper level; understand what we all stand for without sacrificing ourselves and what we believe and change who we are to fit in.
What I find important is this authenticity that comes with true connection: you see me and I see you without any of us wanting to change one another. There is the individuality; the acceptance; the intimacy, freedom and truth. We are true to ourselves and do not change simply to fit in and be liked.
And in my opinion, connecting with another person, does not need to be an elaborated plan of action – connection needs to be born spontaneously having the will, wish and curiosity and sometimes courage to get to know another person and learn and grow from this person.
That is why the following are ideas of what we could/choose to do to initiate some connection:
- Show interest and care to your colleagues: Sometimes as simple as saying “good morning” and taking an interest in your colleagues: being curious of who they are and what their world is like. There is always growth and learning in interacting with others. Acknowledge them and say thank you!
- Give a voice to everyone: With the increase of remote work, it is important that all members of the team are heard. It is crucial that everyone is involved and be part of the process so as the feelings of belonging and commitment are increased. Even if you are working across the country, make sure you meet regularly on any of the digital platforms to say hello and share your progress. Another idea that can be implemented is to leave mobile phones out of the meeting room for more presence and connection.
- Be helpful to others, just because you can: From my experience, nothing creates connection faster than helping a colleague or simply having someone’s back in a challenging situation. See what you can do for each other to make each-other’s day lighter. Care for the well-being of one another.
We spend most of our awake day at work, and it is important to have our needs covered. Take the first step towards connecting with another colleague: invite someone to lunch; ask about their day; hobbies; thoughts; dreams. As daring as it can be, people are craving for deep meaningful conversations that lead to deeper connections! Be that daring one!!!
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The Big C is a coaching organization devoted to helping young professionals step into their leadership and to supporting organizations develop, engage and retain their future leaders.