In the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of modern businesses, the success of any organization ultimately hinges on its most valuable asset—its people. It’s no secret that happy and engaged employees lead to better productivity, creativity, and overall success. But what exactly makes employees feel connected, engaged, and motivated to thrive within their organization? The answer lies in the concept of ‘Human Connection
What is Human Connection?
Human Connection refers to the way people interact with each other within an organization. It encompasses all types of human interactions, be it one-on-one, within teams, across departments, or throughout the entire organization. This powerful element of organizational culture is applicable to both large and small organizations, profit-driven and non-profit alike.
In this article, we’ll delve into the significance of Human Connection in fostering a thriving organizational culture. We’ll explore the key roles and responsibilities related to establishing, preserving, and nurturing this vital connection throughout the organizational hierarchy.
The Impact of Human Connection
The core principle guiding the importance of Human Connection in organizations is simple: when people thrive, organizations thrive. To achieve this, individuals need to have a clear sense of belonging. Here’s what it takes to foster that sense of belonging:
- A Safe Environment: Employees must feel safe to be themselves and be able to freely express their opinions without fear of judgment or reprisal.
- Seen, Heard, and Accepted: Acknowledgment and acceptance are essential for employees to feel valued and engaged.
- Healthy Self-esteem: Building a good level of self-esteem is vital for individuals to flourish in their roles.
- Clarity of Purpose and Strategy: Understanding the organization’s purpose, mission, vision, and strategy creates a sense of direction and meaning for employees.
- Freedom to Innovate: Employees need autonomy within the framework of regulations and laws, enabling them to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas.
These elements apply to every individual in the organization, including those at the highest echelons, such as the C-suite. The foundation for fulfilling these needs and fostering a clear sense of belonging is a strong and positive Human Connection.
Cultivating Human Connection
Creating a powerful Human Connection requires effort and commitment from all members of the organization. In particular, two distinct groups play pivotal roles in shaping this connection:
- Formal and Informal Leaders: Formal leaders hold official positions of authority, while informal leaders are recognized as leading forces by their peers. Both have a crucial role in establishing, preserving, and growing Human Connection.
- Employees, Teams, and Departments: Every individual, team, and department within the organization contributes to the success of Human Connection. Their courage, trust, and willingness to be vulnerable are instrumental in creating a supportive environment.
The Roles and Responsibilities of Leaders
Formal and informal leaders are instrumental in fostering Human Connection. Their key responsibilities include:
- Promoting Psychological Safety: Leaders must foster a workplace environment that encourages care, sharing, and daring, which in turn creates psychological safety. A space where they can freely express their emotions at work in a safe and appropriate manner. These emotions include feelings of joy, frustration, grief, excitement, anxiety, fulfillment, resentment, and any other emotions people may have.
- Listening and Appreciating: Actively listening to employees, acknowledging their contributions, and expressing genuine appreciation for their efforts are crucial for building trust and connection.
- Clear Communication of Purpose and Strategy: Leaders must repeatedly communicate the organization’s purpose and strategy, reinforcing the “why” and “what.”
- Empowering and Trusting the Team: Leaders should hold space for creativity, invite diverse voices, and trust the team with the “how.”
- Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energies: Leaders must find an equilibrium between traditionally masculine traits like assertiveness and feminine traits like empathy, creating a balanced organizational energy.
The Roles and Responsibilities of Employees, Teams, and Departments
Creating a thriving Human Connection is not solely the responsibility of leaders; everyone within the organization contributes. Employees, teams, and departments play a vital role by:
- Showing Vulnerability and Courage: Being open about vulnerabilities encourages others to do the same, fostering an environment of authenticity and trust.
- Embracing Failure and Growth: A willingness to take risks and learn from mistakes is essential for personal and organizational growth. A growth mindset and a genuine desire to improve as individuals and as an organization contribute to ongoing development.
- Practicing Radical Candor: Engaging in open conversations and asking questions to gain clarity and unearth tensions leads to better teamwork and alignment.
- Focus on Common Goals: Teams and departments must work towards shared objectives to strengthen unity and connection.
- Regularly Checking-In: Regular communication and feedback within and between teams help maintain strong relationships.
Time, Energy, and Courage: key ingredients to establish Human Connection
Building Human Connection requires dedicated time, energy, and courage. It’s a transformative process that demands individuals to embrace change and cross sometime tough edges. Leaders must lead by example, showing courage and vulnerability, inspiring others to do the same.
Moreover, Human Connection must be woven into the fabric of the organization, aligning with its purpose, strategy, organizational structure, compensation schemes, and diversity and inclusion policies.
When all these elements come together, a profound sense of belonging emerges. Thriving employees create thriving organizations, and exceptional performance becomes an achievable reality. So, let’s recognize the power of Human Connection and unlock the full potential of our organizations. Together, we can foster a culture where people truly thrive.
Daniel Coyle – The Culture Code
Dr. Amy Edmonson – The Fearless Organization
Dr. Carol Dweck – Mindset
Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TEDxHouston
Global Warriors – The trouble with joy at work
Indeed – Formal vs. Informal Leadership: Definitions and Differences