In today’s workforce, there is an increasing gap in human interaction and connection. In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce recently wrote about the need for businesses to implement “peer groups for community interaction” as a huge growth opportunity. Let’s consider how focusing on human relationships (and considering employee needs) could help you uplevel your culture.
(If culture is a big area of concern or interest for your business right now, I would love to invite you to our upcoming Culture Camp! The 2020 event will be held in Phoenix, Arizona this May!)
As leaders, it’s common for us to consider technology, automation, process and strategy when we think about growth opportunities. But how often do we stop and think about our team’s ability to connect with others? How do we tune in to their need to feel emotionally supported and seen in the workplace?
If the honest truth is that you haven’t thought much about peer connection opportunities, then your team’s emotional experience is likely suffering! Having seen hundreds of business and employees throughout my career, I know that an emotionally struggling team is never operating from a Smart State.
And if your team isn’t in a Smart State, they are in their Critter State! (That is not good!). What do they want? Well, the three main factors are safety, belonging, and mattering. Let’s take a look at what those mean, and what it looks like when they aren’t met. Along the way, consider how addressing these three factors could help you uplevel your culture.
(If you’re thinking you might be in Critter State yourself, check out this FREE, 4 week mini-course ! It’s designed to help you get back in touch with your authentic self.)
Safety is a key ingredient, and it’s highly connected to peer relationships and communication.
For example, if it’s been lacking, your team members are showing up at work and operating out of their Critter State. This means they’ll take safety away from others in order to try and create more of it for themselves.
Consider an employee spreading rumors about others peers, constantly starting gossip, or generally spreading a feeling of dissatisfaction and fear. It is likely that they are dealing with insecurity and a lack of feeling safe.
Because their inside world is stressed, anxious, and fearful, they are literally creating that same feeling in their outside world.
Belonging is also vital. People want to believe they can show up and be seen and accepted. If they don’t feel that is the case in their place of work, they have a tendency to withdraw. If you’ve ever felt frustrated because an employee withheld important information, only communicated to a select few individuals, or even isolated themselves from the whole team…
You’ve had an employee in Critter State dealing with the crisis of not belonging.
Once again, they will take their internal world (where they feel isolated, alone, unheard) and re-create that feeling in their external environment. Because they don’t believe they belong, they will, in effect, “leave the tribe” of their own accord.
Mattering is key in a productive work place. If you consider the idea of people recreating their inner environment in their outer world, what do you think someone who feels they DON’T matter will do in the workplace?
Odds are good they’ll be condescending, put others down, and generally create a no-win situation. Basically, they’ll try to impress on everyone else that they don’t matter either. Yikes!
Their world make the most sense to them if internal and external realities match up, which means if they don’t matter…
then no one matters.
When culture coaching, I love using the SBM Behavior Decoder to help leaders get to the heart of what’s happening in their organizations.
This handy decoder is perfect for helping leaders understand the heart behind the behaviors they are seeing in their organizations. It’s also great for assessing yourself. Leaders who are lacking in safety, belonging, and mattering can wreak havoc in their teams!
If your tribe would benefit from an increase in safety, belonging, or mattering, there is no time to waste! You can start turning things around by finding ways to meet employee needs, process behaviors, and shift into Smart States across the board.
(You can listen to a podcast episode all about employee engagement below!)
Everyone in the world CRAVES something. When you find out what your team needs, and then find a way to provide it, you help them out of Critter State. That frees them up to enter a Smart State.
Once in Smart State, people can operate from a place of strength, rather than a place of stress and fear. Smart State is where you’ll find true rapport, connection, alignment, enrollment, and engagement. As you realize those needs and create an environment that meets them, you’ll also experience higher levels of performance, collaboration, and sustainability!
At the end of the day, the best way to uplevel your culture and increase growth is to make sure your employee’s needs are met.
Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach. She hosts the podcast, Crack the Behavior Code, and would love to offer you access to her free mini-course, the 4 Pillars of the Authentic Self.
*As seen on Forbes.com.