Edward M Hallowell in his book ‘Shine, Using Brian Science to Get the Best from Your People’ explains in clear terms that connections between people add to the well being of the employees and their organisations.
Connection refers to the bond an individual feels with another person, group, task, idea, mission, piece of art, pet or anything else that stirs feelings of attachment, loyalty, excitement, inspiration, comfort or willingness for the sake of a connection. The more intense the connection, the more effective the employee will be. Intense connections generate positive energy and the more positive energy a person brings to work, the better work he will do.
By contrast, disconnection refers to disengagement and distance from a person, group, task, idea, or mission. Disconnection is one of the chief causes of substandard work in the modern workplace, but it is also one of the most easily corrected.
Therefore promoting positive connections of all kinds within the workplace should be a top priority for managers. Identifying disconnection, and intervening to create connection where disconnection is found, can quickly lead to improve productivity.
To help an employee achieve top performance connection has to drive the process. The feeling of connection stabilizes and propels an employee.
Recent research shows that if an employee feels disconnected from his manager and believes that she is unskilled or lacks the ability to do the job well, that worker is more likely to get sick, miss work and have a higher chance of suffering a heart attack than those who feel connected. The study that brought us this information was based on data from some twenty thousand employees in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and Italy who worked in a wide range of jobs.
Nicholas Christakis and James Fowlers in their book ‘Connected, The Surprise Power of our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives’ shows how social networks can bring out far more than each individual in a group possesses. As they point out, social networks can work for good and ill. From spreading happiness to spreading obesity, such networks work wonders, some desirable, some not. As Christakis and Fowlers explain; the surprising power of social networks is not just the effect others have on us it is also the effect we have on others. You do not have to be a superstar to have this power. All you need to do is connect. The ubiquity of human connection means that each of us has a much bigger impact on others than we can see.
This is good news for managers, and important to use to their advantage. Social networks can become one of a manager’s most powerful tools, if he understands them. You might think that it is not possible for happiness to spread among second and third parties, but you would be wrong. Believe it or not, if a friend of a friend of yours becomes happier this can directly impact on you in a positive way. Innovative researchers found through mathematical analyses of social networks, that ‘a person is about 15 percent more likely to be happy if a directly connected person … is happy.
If you are managing others, they will perform better if you yourself are happy and show your joy. They will also perform better if you help them to connect with others. Connection, both to a person and to an endeavour is crucial because when a person connects with another person or task, his mind changes for the better.
But be careful. You have to be genuine in your efforts to connect. Otherwise you roam into Dilbert territory. A manager who reads these words and says:’ I get it, I should wear a smiley button at work’ will get the opposite result of what he hopes for. Fake smiles and forced connections backfire. But if you try to put your most positive self forward, if you promote others before you promote yourself you will go a long way toward creating the all-important positively connected atmosphere in your workplace.
If you want to connect give me a call at 065 7071933 we might even have a cup of coffee and smile!