COVID has certainly brought dramatic changes to our society this past year. The pandemic has given us all a rare occasion to redefine the way we work. People are working remotely and finding different ways of communicating. As you move into a post-COVID environment, you have an opportunity to look at new ways of doing business, too. This inspection includes apparent discussions about changing your workplace system’s structure regarding remote versus brick and mortar, and/or deciding if you will continue to allow online meetings to play more of a role in your organization.
You also have the opportunity to change your behavioral framework for interacting with each colleagues. During this time of isolation, we have learned that interconnectedness is vital to our workday and the way we do business. Sam Balaji, in his recent LinkedIn article, observed that business models are being reimagined and the human element is paramount everywhere.
Regardless of whether the work is at a physical location or via a remote meeting, connecting with others is vital to our ability to work well and stay united. The way we connect is also an essential part of the well-being of the organization. Businesses that find ways to connect people see a more considerable degree of success than organizations with fractured human systems. With this greater understanding, human connectivity’s value moves toward the forefront of a cohesive business process.
I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. When looking at human behaviors, some behaviors have been found to help draw us together, while others create fractures in both people and organizations. You see stronger ties in teams where individuals take time to connect. When individuals within a group are not connecting well, you feel distrust and frustration. Companies who see the significance of strengthening these uniting behaviors find more success in the engagement and effectiveness of their team and the financial success of their company. As with any system that you are trying to assimilate, behaviors also have a system that helps maintain efficiency and order.
Three behaviors specifically have been found to solidify connectivity within a team or organization. Strengthening these for yourself and for your organization helps to instill more trust and authenticity into any situation. I’ll explain each one in more depth below.
Have Actionable Behaviors That Set Up the Framework for How You and Other Individuals Will Interact
These are words that define how you want the team to connect. They are adjectives that describe how to talk with each other and how to handle difficult situations. The measure of success on this element is how well you or your team members use these behaviors to handle difficult situations. If you look at a team that works well together, they probably have inherently identified these words and use them to define communication. These have to be defined since everyone has a slightly different definition of what a word means. For instance, if the word is friendly, you might ask team members to explain what friendly means to them. For some individuals, friendly might mean you smile and help each other out. For other team members, friendly might look like helping people when they ask for help. People may believe that friendly does not always look like someone who is smiling. Understanding these differences and nuances is essential, so that each team member can be themselves in how they bring friendly into the workplace.
There is not always a one size fits all for this word. If you have worked on a team with a similar set of behaviors that define interactions, it is not hard to see how the impact this can have on a team. Think of the team you have been with where there is one person who fractures a group with their behaviors. Start to integrate this behavioral element by discussing what work needs to be done and what words define the way people interact. Doing it ahead of a conflict will come in handy when there is a challenge in the workday. Instead of getting mad or frustrated, you can focus on using this behavior to keep connected. For some people, this will be intuitive. For others, practice may be necessary.
Make Your Words and Actions Match Throughout the Day
Aligning words with actions helps to build trust and authenticity. People who place value on making their actions match their words bring cohesion to a team. An individual or even a team who says that they choose to interact with each other in a friendly or helpful manner can either create cohesion or fractures by how they choose to respond. Problems will always arise in the workday. The intersection for connectivity depends on how each individual chooses to respond.
If an individual on the team says they are helpful, but do not engage to help with any part of the workday, they lose trust among the group because they are not aligned with the behavioral system. That does not mean that they have to be helping people continually. It means that if a person does not try and participate in the spirit of the actions, they will start to see tiny fractures in how people work. That is why it is beneficial to find people for a team who can do the work and also have a like-minded approach for how to treat others. These interactions are also helpful in the case of diversity and inclusion because the measure of success is how well you integrate yourself into the words that secure the team. These defining words are not designed to create a Pollyanna picture of work, but rather to help people focus on how to move forward when a challenge is presented to the team. You can keep your wits about you when work comes crashing down if you at least know how to proceed concerning your behavior.
Don’t Judge Others or Yourself as Good or Bad/Wrong or Right.
Connectivity is related to a sense of self. When people feel they are doing a bad job, they tend not to integrate into a system and may lose a sense of value to the team. If an individual feels bad or wrong when they make a mistake, then they will feel devalued in the situation. In this type of system, some individuals are good, and some are bad. Other individuals are right, and some are wrong. This up and down motion of value creates instability within the team. Judging the value of individuals pulls people backward—looking for people to blame. Groups that recognize the inherent value of all team members find a greater sense of stability. They are able to move forward, trying to find a solution and fix problem.
These three behaviors work together as a system of connectivity for you or your team. When you integrate these behaviors into your workday, you find a greater sense of cohesion in how you do business. As with any system, these parts are complex and might require some practice to achieve; however, they can be handy tools to have in your interpersonal toolbox to help bring your team together in connectivity.
Want to learn more or continue this conversation? Watch my on-demand webinar, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in how you Deal with Challenges. I discussing these three behaviors for connectivity and more.