Now more than ever, we need genuine human heart connections. The health of the human connections at your workplace directly impacts your organisation on every level.
What do you think of when you hear the term human connections? Do you think of the People & Culture department? Or the scheduled daily huddles, weekly team or individual meetings? Or the social committee’s calendar of events for the year? Or the training that is planned for the teams?
If you thought of any of the above or have human people working at your organisation …… recommend you keep reading.
What is human connection?
This is where there is a deep, authentic connection between two or more people where they feel valued, heard, seen and witnessed. They engage in vulnerable interactions where they feel safe to be authentically themselves. Healthy human connections exchange positive energy between individuals by caring and empathising for each other at a heart level. This is a heart to heart connection. It is where you care about the whole person and not just the part that connects you such as work, gym, education etc…
Why is human connection important at the workplace?
Let’s state the obvious….it is important because humans work at your organisation! Humans are social, wired to connect, share and grow together!
After our basic needs of safety, food & water we need a sense of belonging and love. This is known and well documented with the Maslow’s Hierarchy, the energy systems of our bodies and early childhood development.
Back to the workplace. We join, stay or leave organisations because of the connections with leaders and teams. We are not engaging, conversing or connecting with a body, organisation or company…..we connect with other individuals. We work better when engaged with individuals on a deeper personal level, where we genuinely feel cared, valued and accepted as our true authentic self.
We are navigating through our lives with emotions, traumas, dreams while trying to be the best versions of ourselves. With all the noise in life when you can connect with others on a human level, speak openly and be vulnerable you feel positive genuine exchanges. You work for and strengthen these human connections.
What impact does genuine human connections have?
Connection is a fundamental human need impacting our overall well being including mental and physical health. Feeling connected can decrease health risks such as anxiety, depression and stress while improving physical and mental health by strengthening the immune system and boosts resilience. Genuine human connections give greater satisfaction in life. The Grant Study conducted over 80 years is part of Harvard’s study of adult development. The primary goal was to identify the predictors of healthy ageing by tracking physical and emotional well being. The study found that how happy we are in our relationships has a profound impact on our health and were the strongest predictor of life satisfaction above genes, social class, wealth, fame or IQ. In addition to happiness, strong quality connections impacted physical health, financial success and longevity.
Similarly The World Happiness Report 2021 found correlation between connectedness and better mental health, wellbeing, life satisfaction and resilience.
Care and connection are the strongest predictors. How genuine and healthy are the connections at your workplace? If we are happier, stronger and more fulfilled around healthy connections there are positive impacts for teams, culture and organisational outcomes.
What can you do to create healthy human connections?
If I had to summarise the key most important qualities in any relationship it would be trust, communication, boundaries and respect.
Healthy relationships show compassion and care for each other. Compassion builds deeper meaningful connections, healthy communication and collaboration. Individuals displaying compassion feel empathy and take action to help others without expecting anything in return. There are physical and mental benefits in giving and receiving compassion. It can reduce stress, anxiety while making you feel happier, calmer and have a greater sense of fulfilment. Compassion is when you move beyond your self-concern to the wider team, community and world. This is the bond that unites humanity so no wonder it is so important in healthy human connections.
Share your stories and fears. Being vulnerable can feel uncomfortable however it is almost always met with compassion. People want to see and feel your human side, and know more about you than your professional career. When you are showing vulnerability you build trust and give permission for others to do the same.
Overcome resistance you feel to enter or engage in an uncomfortable interaction. Getting out of your comfort zone is where the biggest growth and magic can occur. Genuinely sharing your true self with others will always feel right no matter how uncomfortable it is initially. Take that first step and explore the changes in your connection to yourself and with others. There will be positive changes!
Any interaction that is not genuine and not from the heart is immediately felt and creates distrust. Be honest, open and yourself and all your connections. It starts with being honest with yourself first. There is nothing harder than when we try to convince ourselves of something that is not true. That is the logical mind playing protective tricks. Listen to your heart and be honest with yourself first because once you truly are it is difficult to not be with all your connections.
Speak up if you are unhappy about a situation. Triggers are a fantastic way to communicate and readjust our personal boundaries. Genuine interactions are more fulfilling and impactful than any other surface level interaction.
Relationships take time so consistency and commitment is important especially when it is a new or strained relationship. Follow up your words with meaningful repetitive actions. If you make commitments or promises, honour them. Should the commitment or promise become invalid or change, be open to communicate them. Be committed to making strong connections in every interaction.
This is vital to any healthy connections. Stop being distracted. Stop trying to think of what you will say while someone is speaking with you.
Be present. Give them your full attention. Focus only on them. Look at them while they speak. Listen. Keep listening. Someone is sharing themselves with you which is an honour. So engage genuinely with presence and keep listening. The skill of being present and listening is more powerful than rescuing and solution work.
Be thankful for all the connections you have made and lessons you have learnt, particularly to the difficult ones. Gratitude and having a positive attitude are two of your best friends to feel happier within yourself and with others.
Let others know your gratitude, they are probably not mind readers and would appreciate you sharing how you feel.
Responsibility of leaders and organisations
Leaders, teachers and mentors have a responsibility to their teams and students. This is a relationship of privilege and honour. I have been blessed with some amazing teachers, leaders and mentors in my life.
Working with and leading teams, I felt responsible for their wellbeing. I genuinely cared (and still do) about the beautiful people I was privileged to work with. These personal connections were so special that even working under pressure was joyful and fulfilling. The team genuinely cared for each other and worked united to accomplish and celebrate as one.
Caring for your team’s happiness, supporting them to be their best manifests powerful connections and outcomes. You set the tone with the energy you bring to the team and environment.
All organisations understand the importance of human connections in their work environments. Visionary organisations take the bigger step in investing in the holistic happiness of their teams. The fact that this investment attracts and retains the best individuals is not their leading driver. Their primary focus is their genuine compassion for individuals happiness and wellbeing. These visionary organisations thrive on being part of the growth of the individual for no other reason than their happiness and wellbeing.
The old outdated programs and systems of working are collapsing. People have woken up to the importance of their life, energy and wellbeing. Today we choose selectively where and with whom we share our energy. We are choosing visionary organisations that value, promote and are genuinely compassionate about humans and their wellbeing.
We are setting the foundations of new ways to interact with each other. We are choosing a progressive, compassionate, collaborative way to interact building the new organisation, programs, structures and world. This new way is is being lead from the heart. We are choosing to work with organisations that are visionary leading from their hearts for the highest best for all of humanity and our world.