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Do we really need a process to remind us to be humans at work?

by | 17 Aug, 2016

“My colleagues are setting up a Facebook group, a monthly conference call and an email share group for us to have more human connection.” Andreas was just back from a week of leadership training. He had loved the week and felt hugely inspired by his own and the groups experience.

One of the main take-outs was that he and his colleagues were craving human connection. Their organisation had spent the last few years going through transformation process after transformation process – a fancy word for redundancies, cost-cutting and restructuring.

Andreas and his colleagues arrived at the leadership training stressed, tired and with tunnel vision. At the end of the week they were happier, they felt inspired, more energised and ready to be creative with the resources available to them. What had worked? The biggest impact factor was the human connections they had been showered in for the whole week. Both the one-to-one conversations and the group sessions had nourished their energy levels and their ability to see more possibilities.

They admitted to themselves that while the attitude of just-put-your-head-down-and get-on-with-it-and keep-pushing-through is needed on some days, it was depleting them. Realising that they all had similar thoughts, judgements and feelings helped them feel better. There is nothing wrong with me… Others feel the same. And their conclusion: If we want to thrive, if we want our organisation to thrive again, it is essential to make time for connecting as human beings.

Eye contact, being listened to and sharing experiences are not luxuries in the work place. They are essential to keep the focus and energy levels of teams and individuals high.

Andreas’ colleagues were determined to keep the connections coming as they went back to their day jobs. But Andreas wasn’t sure about the approach: “Do we really need a process for human connection? It seems ridiculous to me.” I loved this challenge from Andreas. He had spotted how his group were determined to work HARD at making sure this human connection would continue. They did, as they always did in their organisation:

If something is important, we create a process to make sure it happens.

“I don’t think I will get what I need from that Facebook group and I really don’t want more emails to read and reply to. I don’t want to be a nay-sayer – but there has to be another way.”

So how can you generate more human interaction and meaningful connection day to day? What if you could make it easy?

Exercise: How to create and sustain human connection in modern day organisational life

Firstly, accept that you are a human being (and so is everyone else) and to be at your best, to have high performance in your organisation and to keep your energy levels high, you need to connect with other human beings.

Then pick and choose from the list below.

  • Slow down and LOOK people in the eyes when they speak with you. Sounds so obvious, but how often are you glancing at your screen when a colleague comes to ask a question?
  • Listen. Really listen. Be genuinely interested in others. Following a listening technique doesn’t make you a good listener. You have to want to listen to start with. For a quick video on my top 3 tips for becoming a better listener click here
  • Have an intention to every day connect with at least one colleague. See if you can learn something new about a team mate, supplier or client every day.
  • Have lunch with someone instead of eating at your desk.
  • Pick up the phone instead of sending an email. Speaking is a stronger connector than emailing.
  • Go for a walk-and-talk meeting rather than one in a conference room.
  • Connect beyond the work-task. Share something personal from you life. And ask your colleagues about their life outside work, their family, their weekend etc.
  • Tell someone what you appreciate about them. It takes less than a minute. Get specific and say: What I appreciate about you is xxxx because xxxxx. That’s it. Do it now. Do it today.

Remember – it really doesn’t have to take long. Less is more. Be genuine and be present when you connect.

AND the great news: You will GAIN energy from this and so will those you interact with.

Let’s make it simple! Don’t create another process. Be human. Be real. Take time to connect.

How do YOU create and sustain human connections during your working day?


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