There have been many words that stand out to describe 2020, but one of the most significant for me is connection, and more specifically, human connection.
Whether through our personal or our business networks, the ability to connect with others on an emotional level has been a vital skill.
Human connection has enhanced previous relationships; we’ve seen inside colleagues’ houses, we’ve met children and family pets, we’ve shared our thoughts and fears and we’ve embraced a more compassionate approach to business.
Compassion creates higher levels of trust, boosts confidence and optimism and engages our teams; all behaviours that we will continue to call on as we enter a new year.
Here are four ways for managers to embrace compassion in 2021:
1. Connect – regularly
Research from Leadership IQ shows that optimum engagement results come when managers connect with each team member for 6 hours per week. These connections don’t all have to be work-related. Use some time to check-in on work-life balance, family and personal interests.
2. Demonstrate vulnerability
I’m often asked how to do this without appearing ‘soft’ or ‘lacking control’, and that’s the point. You don’t need to be ‘hard’ or ‘controlling’ to be a great leader. Demonstrating your softer skills will bring you closer to your team. For example, share some of your own concerns or challenges; admit mistakes; share your learnings – be human.
3. Show flexibility
Give your teams a clear purpose and let them achieve. Think of it as freedom within a framework. Does it really matter how or when your team work as long as they achieve their goals? Cutting them some slack and showing a flexible approach to their work will provide greater commitment and engagement.
4. Communicate authentically
This is a time for over-communication. Keep in regular contact and be transparent and consistent with your messages. If you don’t know something, say so. Provide opportunities for your team to ask questions and maintain a two-way dialogue.
If you’d like to understand more about how I can support you or your team with developing and enhancing connection and engagement with your employees, get in touch and let’s have a conversation.