Reach Out to the Disconnected

Hand Reaching Out to Help

#12 Connect with the Disconnected

People who are disconnected need our help. Throw them a lifeline by taking action to connect with them. Perhaps you can encourage them with a smile, a kind word, an offer to buy them a cup of coffee or by holding open a door for them. There are hundreds of ways to connect and small things can make a big difference over time.

People who become disconnected and feel left out suffer. Neuroscientists call what they feel “social pain” because feeling left out activates the parts of the brain where human beings feel physical pain and it causes people to become more anxious, more stressed, less social, less energetic, less rational and diminishes their self-control. Disconnection is not only unproductive, it is potentially dangerous if the isolated individual becomes angry and decides to retaliate. This is why we need to show mercy and reach out to help the disconnected reconnect.

This is the twelfth 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.

Recognize and Affirm Grit

#9 Recognize and Affirm Grit – Psychologist Angela Duckworth found that affirming people’s day-in-and-day-out passion, work effort and perseverance helped them develop “grit,” a form of tenacity that makes them more effective workers. Be sure to talk about grit, to look for signs of it in others and affirm them for it.

This is the ninth 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.

Connect by Focusing on the Positives

#8 Develop the Habit of Emphasizing Positives Psychologist John Gottman first observed that marriages were less likely to survive when the positive/negative ratio of interactions dipped below 5-to-1 (i.e. five positives to every negative). More recently the psychologist Barbara Frederickson found that a ratio of  3-to-1 applied in the workplace. Human beings need affirmation and recognition so get in the habit of looking out for ways to affirm and serve others. Do this by looking for task strengths and character strengths. Task strengths reflect the excellence of someone’s work. Character strengths reflect the way someone goes about his/her work.

For example, you might affirm a colleague by saying “Nancy, that was an outstanding website you created. The navigation design was easy to use, the writing was easy to understand and the color scheme was beautiful.” You might affirm Nancy’s character strengths by saying, “Nancy, I appreciate the way you persevered to make our new website happen. You showed wisdom and humility in seeking the ideas of others and applying the best ideas to the design of our new website. Very nicely done.”

This is the eighth 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.

Your career will soar if you avoid leaders’ #1 blind spot

Many leaders unknowingly sabotage their careers by wrongly assuming their employees are actively engaged in their work.

This lack of understanding about engagement — enthusiasm, effort and enjoyment at work — will eventually affect the bottom line and make the leader look ineffective.

Here are the facts: The average leader engages only three out of every 10 employees. The best leaders engage six or more out of every 10 employees.

Your customers clearly see whether your employees are engaged or not. Engagement affects the quality of their work, their productivity and responsiveness, all of which affect your customers’ experience.  They feel employees’ enthusiasm and energy — or lack thereof — and recognize the bad results of an organization with overall morale problems. Employee engagement matters. 

Seek the Unique

#6  Seek the Unique   When meeting someone for the first time, ask questions to identify something that is both unique and positive about them.  Doing this will make you more likely to remember them and what differentiates them from others.

While teaching a leadership seminar in Boston, a participant from the American Red Cross told me that Elizabeth Dole, the former president of the Red Cross, practiced this and Ms. Dole frequently brought up in conversation what was unique about a person the next time she saw him/her. (This practice reflects the Connection Culture element of Value.)

This is the sixth 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.

 

Assessing Ballmer’s Leadership

Check out technology critic David Pogue’s “How Ballmer Missed the Tidal Shifts in Tech” which appeared on the New York Times’ website on August 24.

I believe the most relevant question to ask in assessing Ballmer’s leadership and why Microsoft missed the tidal shifts in tech is: did Ballmer and his leadership team develop a culture of control, a culture of indifference or a “connection culture?” (These are the three types of psychosocial cultures in organizations.) Connection Cultures are required to maximize innovation, employee engagement and productivity, a case we made in our book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity

Say “Hi” and “Bye”

#5 Say Hi and Bye

When you enter a room and it’s appropriate given the context and number of people present, greet people by name.  When you leave their presence, say goodbye.  Not saying hi and/or bye, runs the risk of giving someone the impression that you are indifferent to them.  (This practice reflects the Connection Culture element of Value.)

This is the fifth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others.  Although the 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.

Update: Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks North America and Starbucks International, and I co-authored an article entitled “Leadership Myopia” that appears in the August edition of Leadership Excellence alongside articles by well known leadership experts Gary Hamel, Marshall Goldsmith and Patrick Lencioni.    On October 10, I will give a keynote speech at the Retailing Summit held in Dallas, Texas.  The Retailing Summit is a premiere event for senior leaders in retail.  This year’s conference includes Karen Katz, President and CEO of Nieman Marcus, Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop, Duncan Mac Naughtan, EVP, Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer for Wal-Mart U.S. and Graham Atkinson, CMO & Chief Experience Officer of Walgreens.

Neuro-Wifi: Power of Mutual Empathy

Happy Girl
#4 Feel Others’ Emotions

Mutual empathy is a powerful connector that is made possible by the mirror-neurons in our brains.  These neurons act like an emotional wifi system.  When we feel the emotions others feel it makes them feel connected to us.   When we feel their positive emotions, it enhances the positive emotions they feel.  When we feel their pain, it diminishes the pain they feel.  If someone expresses emotion, it’s okay, and natural, for you to feel it.

Here are some examples.  A colleague at work does a fantastic job on a project. Be happy for them and take that emotion with you when you go tell them what a great job they did.  When they feel you are happy about their success, it will enhance the joy they feel and create a bond between the two of you.

Here are a couple examples that apply at home.  Your daughter tells you she worked hard, persevered and  received an A in a really hard class.  Feel her joy. Give her a high five, a fist bump, a hug, pick her up and spin her around.  Tell her how awesome she is and how proud you are of her.  It will elevate her joy and  she will feel your love for her.  She will also feel more connected to you, and this, research has shown, will help make her more resilient, more creative, a better problem solver, less likely to drink alcohol or engage in sex during her adolescence.  How’s that for an incentive?   Also, when she pokes her head in your home office or wants to talk while you are reading the newspaper or checking your email, stop what you’re doing, focus on her and listen attentively.  If she is feeling down, try to feel her emotion.  If she senses that you feel what she does, it will make her feel better and connect the two of you even more. How great is that!

This is the fourth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others.  Although the 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.

Note: Photo from Flickr

Attention is Oxygen for Relationships

lafley_lg2

#2 Be Present in Conversations

It’s been said that attention is oxygen for relationships. When interacting with people, be present in conversations. Get in the habit of staying focused on them and giving them your full attention. Be engaged and curious by asking questions and then asking follow-up questions to clarify. Listen carefully to words and observe facial expressions and body cues. Don’t check your smart phone, don’t look at your watch, don’t look around the room or let your mind wander.