As a leader or team builder, you’ve noticed trends of emotional uncertainty infiltrate the lives and minds around you. And it’s very understandable. The world as we knew it turned upside down and hasn’t quite righted itself yet. But those episodes of fear and uncertainty do more than impact our personal lives. They carry into our work lives as well.
The people and teams you oversee harbor those emotions and worry about their work, their performance, and their ability to succeed. While it’s a natural occurrence, it can also become a cultural obstacle by contributing to conflicts, burnout, and loss of engagement.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. There are ways to drive organizational transition beyond the omnipresent scary news of the day. To elevate your teams beyond fear and into a thriving group of talented people who work well with each other during good times and bad. Ways to build trust and create an environment where people feel safe being their authentic selves and doing their best work.
Research has proven the strong impact of emotional connection in the workplace. Here are three ways to apply it to your organization to elevate a thriving culture.
1. Foster a sense of community with emotional intelligence
Your team needs to trust you and each other. Emotional intelligence is one way to achieve such trust.
Emotional intelligence was defined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. It is essentially the ability to recognize your own emotions as well as understand emotions in people around you. Building skills to recognize and understand emotions supports better decision making, problem-solving and overall communication.
Practice recognizing your own emotions to become more self-aware. Then work on your team to help them do the same. Establish emotional connection goals within the team and encourage participation to build deeper trust and community. Those goals can follow the four levels of emotional intelligence:
- Perceiving emotions
- Reasoning with emotions
- Understanding emotions
- Managing emotions
Working with an emotional connection coach or a training strategy can help everyone on your team or even the organization to achieve strong emotional intelligence. The EmC Strategy is a great place to start.
2. Create a safe space for people to share their emotions
It is critical to allow people to share their emotions in the workplace. Unexpressed frustrations or fears can hamper productivity and contribute to a negative spiral with the potential to impact entire teams and even organizational cultures.
Encourage team members to express themselves honestly to you. It is then your responsibility as a leader to step back and support them as they do so, even if what they are saying feels confrontational. The key is to identify what is driving their emotions, acknowledge it, and establish steps toward overcoming it. That is the path to establishing emotional safety.
A great resource for developing a greater understanding of this process is the interactive game Workplace War Zone. It walks participants through potential work conflict scenarios and how to best handle them, along with descriptions of why certain communication behaviors work to establish trust.
3. Consistently share your organizational vision
Teams should consistently be reminded of the “why.” Your organization may have growth goals, but clearly defining the why is essential. Morale can suffer if an organization does not have a clear vision of how its work contributes to the world or to people’s lives.
Weave organizational vision throughout interactions with individual employees and team meetings. Remind them of why they do what they do, and what the long-term goals are. Acknowledge people who have contributed in a positive way toward the vision. Encourage your team to become vision ambassadors who share it with cross-functional partners. Communicate the vision consistently to create advocates and champions who will positively impact employees and departments throughout the organization.
Emotional connection leads to a thriving culture
Emotional connection is not something we’re used to seeing prioritized throughout our workplaces. Yet it has proven time and again how effective it is in growing teams, establishing trust, inspiring creativity, and increasing employee engagement along with satisfaction.
Leaders can benefit from deploying an emotional connection mindset throughout their organization. Following the above steps is a great place to start.
Get expert guidance through emotional connection core competencies to drive direct impact to your organizational culture with our new Leading the Journey to Thriving: Emotional Connection Core Competencies virtual course beginning December 3. Register before November 6th for an early bird discount!
Learn more about EmC Leaders solutions to help you cultivate emotional connection and build thriving teams who succeed together. And request a free consultation to learn how to instill an emotional connection into your organizational culture.