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Cultivate Connection at Work

The Leader's 3-2-1: Three Insights, Two Questions and One Statistic.

Connection at work is being seen, heard and valued. Connection isn't just a warm, fuzzy extra – it's essential to boost team brainpower, belonging and bottom line. Connectedness is so important, workers are willing to leave jobs for lack of it. Amidst the Great Resignation, McKinsey found three primary reasons for quitting: 54% didn't feel valued by their organization, 52% didn't feel valued by their manager, and 51% didn't feel a sense of belonging at work. Connection is a system to build, not a one-time peak to climb. Leaders must cultivate the relational habits required for workers to feel seen, heard and valued. A simple process to get started (whether on-site, remote or hybrid) in 3-2-1:

Three Insights

See: Create the space. The most successful managers have at least one meaningful conversation per week (15-30 minutes) with direct reports. Place recurring 1:1 meetings on your calendars. Shoot the breeze, ask great questions, listen, and clarify expectations. Be intentional and commit: habitual check-ins promote trust, support and safety. Hear: Offer the gift of presence and listening. In weekly check-ins, have a listen-first mindset. Give your employee the sense they are your only focus. Put screens away, pivot your body to square up with them, pay attention beyond words and permit realness in emotion. When you fully listen, it produces feelings of being heard and understood in the speaker. Value: Celebrate, praise and thank. The triple threat for helping an employee feel valued. Don't leave your weekly conversation without communicating at least one of these three:

  • Celebrate: acknowledge milestones like work anniversaries, promotions, birthdays and life events like weddings, arrival of children, etc.

  • Praise: recognize excellent work, resilient progress and unique strengths, talents and potential.

  • Thank: Share a specific reason why their work matters to you and the team.

Two Questions

Does your stance match your strategy? Connection is not a check-the-box type of strategy. To be impactful, it must be paired with sincere stances of empathy, compassion and care. Often, it's lack of self-care that gets in the way. Set and update boundaries for success. What will you need to discard or delegate to create time and energy for connection? Make sure you've made a complete transition from doer to leader. Your role is to steer the ship, not toil below deck. Discard or delegate duties, meetings and projects that do not require your specific skillset or presence.

One Statistic

Increase employee retention by 20%. "It takes a 20% pay increase to lure an employee away from a manager that engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers." -Gallup

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