Inspiration and lessons for your leadership journey!
"If knowledge traps are the cholesterol of organizations, then the force of connection that fosters relationship excellence is the Statin drug that breaks up knowledge traps, restores knowledge flow, and keeps the environment healthy."
There’s a story about a manager who bumped into one of her former employees in the grocery store. The former employee gave her the cold shoulder.
“What’s the matter, Phyllis? We used to get along so well when you worked for me!” the manager asked quite puzzled.
“Well, to be quite frank, I was only nice because I worked for you. I’ve never liked you. You’re a conceited, power-hungry, hypocrite who never listens to what anyone else has to say! And now that I don’t work for you anymore, I don’t have to be nice!” the former employee exclaimed as she stormed off.
What do relationships have to do with employee engagement? Plenty! And depending on where you lead, the term employee engagement may be substituted with other terms. If you teach, you might call it school spirit or classroom morale. In the military it is called esprit de corps. If you lead in a church, you might call it fellowship. No matter what term works for where you lead, employee engagement is not about some New Age, feel-good fad.
For example, organizational psychology has closely tied employee engagement to our innate need to connect and belong as a species – relationships. It’s so important; I devoted an entire chapter to relationships – the force of connection – in my latest book, A Travel Guide to Leadership.
Neuroscientific research has established that as stress rises; cortisol levels rise. When cortisol levels rise, people tend to behave in reactionary or rash ways. They simply don't think clearly and rely on 'fight or flight' responses to protect themselves. If relationships with the boss or fellow workers are causing stress, employees will be less productive and less engaged with their work.
However, when stress levels are lower, so too are cortisol levels. When cortisol levels are lower, people tend to remain calm, rational, and think more clearly.
The feeling of being connected to those around us – part of a safe and meaningful team – boosts dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin levels. These make us feel more energized, confident, and trusting. Engaged or connected employees are 20% more productive than the average employee and actually live longer!
When relationships flourish and are healthy at work, everybody wins. People want to give their best effort and become more loyal and productive. When we feel needed, do fulfilling and meaningful work, and have a great relationship with our boss (teacher, choir leader, coach, etc.), we love our work! And this is true for those you lead too! Take time every day to use the force of connection
The Science of Engagement
By Michael Lee Stallard
The inspiration for this week’s blog came after reading this article in Training Industry Quarterly, Spring 2012. Michael is president of E Pluribus Partners and the primary author of Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity.
This Week's Affirmations
(Repeat these quietly to yourself multiple times throughout the day.)
I make my relationships with my direct reports my personal responsibility.
I foster healthy relationships and trust between my team members (students, etc.).
I practice empathic listening techniques.
I use the 100/0 principle, even when I get discouraged!
I use the Magic Ratio (see chapter 7) in all my relationships!
I am a loving leader!
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.