Would you be surprised to learn that people with friendly connections at work perform better in their job? According to research, people who have a good friend at work are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, but they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job. In addition, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention and job satisfaction than those who don’t.
Connections at work matter.
An enlightened connection at work is deeper than a superficial working relationship. It involves getting to know someone on a meaningful level – their lives outside of work, where they live, who the important people are in their lives, what they love to do in their personal time.
People who are successful in their jobs tend to have solid connections across an organization. They have coworkers who are willing to take the time to share information or help them with a problem. Having these connections makes it easier to get their job done and allows them to be more effective.
Enlightened Connecting Reinforces Positive Workplace Culture
How you and your colleagues connect and stay connected is a demonstration of your workplace culture. Your manager, your direct reports and your peers are a natural place to focus when it comes to building enlightened connections. Beyond this immediate group, it’s important to forge connections with other stakeholders – people who have a joint interest in a project or effort. These people may be outside of your immediate team, but represent a group you partner with frequently, a business area related to yours, or influencers who affect the work your team does.
Get to know the people who are supporting you. This may include junior team members, administrative assistants, facilities staff and interns. And importantly, take time to connect with people with whom you have conflicts. Getting to know each other on a more personal level will improve how you work together and expand your perspective. It’s also helpful to nurture connections that extend outside of the workplace into your professional network – former colleagues, people in your industry, and those with whom you share an interest. Ultimately the goal is to create a web of connections.
Relationships need to be fostered. Building relationships and enlightened connections at work and in our personal lives takes time, focus and maintenance.
Here are some tips to help you build and maintain your enlightened connections:
- Ask colleagues how they’re doing. Ask about their weekend and begin to learn more about them personally.
- Share about your own life with your colleagues, which gives them permission to do the same.
- Do Check-ins – Integrate a quick check-in where everyone quickly shares how they are doing before meetings start.
- Capture key info – Jot down notes about what you hear, names of family members, hobbies, birthdays and add them to your contact information.
- Use a 1:1 form – With direct reports, fill out a 1:1 form when you meet with them to chronicle what is happening in their lives.
- Schedule time with colleagues to have coffee or lunch, either in person or virtually. When you’re working virtually, it’s even more important to carve out the time to connect with your colleagues.
How Connection Relates to the 7 Elements of an Enlightened Workplace
Connection is at the core of enlightened communication and a critical part of the Enlightened Workplace. Here’s how connection relates to the 7 Elements of an Enlightened Workplace:
Safety – Supportive relationships are foundational in helping people weather challenges and adversity, providing a place for sharing that feels open and safe.
Care – Taking time to build connections shows that you care about those around you.
Respect – True connection is about meaningful, fulfilling exchanges and conversations, built on a foundation of respect, which is further reinforced with each interaction.
Joy – Connections are fun! Sharing personal experiences and building relationships can bring great happiness and joy, and lead to meaningful friendships.
Progress – With each new relationship you build, a new connection is forged. With attention, that connection will grow deeper and evolve. Enlightened work connections enable projects to move forward more smoothly.
Value – Enlightened connecting offers the opportunity to know and experience another person, with history and experience that is unique to them, which allows us to see a different perspective and identify new opportunities.
Meaning – Connecting with others on a personal level brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as we take time to know our co-workers as human beings and understand them more deeply.