Photo by JacksonDavid on Pixabay

There’s a myriad of different platforms to communicate in this modern day including our phones, Zoom, Skype, Messenger, FB, Instagram and many others.

We may be communicating more than ever before, but we’re not really connecting with as many people as we may think. For example, I have something close to 1,000 ‘friends’ on FB, but in reality they’re acquaintances more than friends.

What is Connecting?

Connecting isn’t simply pressing a button on LinkedIn, no more than it is on FB. It’s about communicating at a deeper level and the importance of it is often overlooked.

Connecting is about bringing in another level, the emotional level and is really about getting to know people, liking them and trusting them. And vice versa. 

Yes, the old fashioned K.L.T.

What Happens when we connect?

When we connect with others, they’ll go the extra mile for you, whether you’re a work colleague, manager (or boss if you prefer), team-mate or partner.  Having people who click or simply gel, including the leaders, promotes better engagement and performance. It’s developing real relationships.

The Darker Side

Problems occur when someone doesn’t mould or fit into the team or lacks ethics. It leads to insecurity, gossip and the inevitable battle of ego’s. In other words, a recipe for disaster and turmoil. Anyone who knows gossip is going on is just waiting for their turn to be in the firing line, which ruins morale, self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

It can lead to alienating people and loneliness. Or in other words disconnection. In his Ted talk Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School said “Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism”. 

Gossip comes down to self-awareness. The individuals have to be responsible for themselves, their actions and also be aware of how it affects the team or organisation.

Having a team that is connected not only boosts morale and productivity, it reduces anxiety and stress; two of the biggest challenges workers face today that are costing companies billions, as well as the workers mental health and wellbeing.

Connected people and teams will also socialise outside of office hours, enhancing engagement and trust even further, rather than the fixed mindset of disconnected people, who tend to spend their time focusing on things that go wrong and gossiping about who is to blame. 

The same applies in sports teams.  It’s very easy to recognise when a sports team are connected on the field and when they aren’t. The European Ryder Cup team is a prime example of a team that tends to connect with each other more than their American counterparts.

The Really Good News

A Harvard News study conducted over 80 years, the longest study of its kind, established that relationships, more than fame or money, are what kept people happy. In essence, being connected to someone. The researchers also found that those who kept warm relationships lived longer and happier lives into their 80’s. 

“Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains” added Robert Waldinger.

It’s the human experience of using positive emotions to communicate and connect with others, that helps build positive relationships, professionally and personally, that allows individuals, teams and organisations to thrive, not merely survive.