Leaders who view themselves as serving a cause greater than self connect with people who share their desire to serve that particular cause. A shared cause connects people to one another by bringing greater beauty, goodness and/or truth to the world, and, by doing so, helps people.
Here are two examples. Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, started a company to help women-owned businesses in developing countries market their natural personal care products to consumers in wealthy nations. Roddick was passionate about it, employees and customers of The Body Shop loved it, and the company grew rapidly to become a global success story.
Research by Wharton’s Adam Grant has shown that connecting to a Vision of serving others (pro-social, as Grant calls it) boosts employee productivity. Research by UCLA’s Stephen W. Cole, et al., has shown that people who feel connected to their work because it has a higher purpose or service to others exhibited gene-expression profiles that were associated with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This is the sixteenth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.