A culture that connects people would seem to be a high priority to leaders. Building a sense of community would seem to be a necessary first step before a leader does anything else. But a connection culture is not a common as you might expect.
Perhaps this largely because our human nature still leads us to believe that we can always default to command and control when we have to. Or perhaps we just get so busy that we have no time for relationships. We just need to get the work done.
Michael Lee Stallard makes the case in Connection Culture that in order to achieve sustainable, superior performance, every member of an organization needs to intentionally develop both task excellence and relational excellence. That is they need to be continually learning and developing healthy relationships with others.
Stallard notes that “most organizations contain a mixture of connection cultures, cultures of control, and cultures of indifference, indicating that most leaders are not intentional about developing connection and connection cultures. Creating connection cultures should be an organization’s highest priority because:
- Employees who feel connected perform at the top of their game. They are more energetic, optimistic, make better decisions, are more creative and live longer.
2. Employees who feel connected give their best effort. They go above and beyond because they care about the community they are a part of.
3. Employees who feel connected align their behavior with organizational goals. Research has shown that nearly one in five employees works against his or her organization’s interests. Organizations with a connection culture experience a higher percentage of people who pull in the same direction.
- Employees who feel connected help improve the quality of decisions. Employees who care are more likely to speak up and share information even if they think the decision makers would rather not hear it.
Employees who feel connected actively contribute to innovation. Connected employees actively look for ways to improve the organization and contribute to its marketplace of ideas.
Stallard goes into the how of creating a connection culture with five building blocks for each of the core connection elements of vision, value and voice.
Vision: When everyone in the organization is motivated by the mission, united by the values, and proud of the reputation.
Value: When everyone in the organization understands the needs of people, appreciates their positive unique contributions, and helps them achieve their potential.
Voice: When everyone in the organization seeks the ideas of others, shares their ideas and opinions honestly, and safeguards relational connections.
Connection is a character issue. It’s about your attitude, language and behavior. Start on your local culture where you have an influence either formal or informal. Stallard advises that we also “consider how it applies to your family, your neighborhood, the community organizations you are involved in, and other areas of your life, and then take action to increase connection in those spheres as well.”
If you are looking to take your leadership to the next level, connect with others at every level.
Source: Leadership Now