Bridging the Disconnection Dilemma: Human Connection
You will re-emerge from this moment, but not as you were before, and the fundamental question for all business and community leaders is how.
Do you find yourself asking, “What can I learn, and how can I shape a better future, or simply, how can I manage around this and get back to normal?” The truth is, there is no normal to which we can return. The world is transforming. You can either lead through that transformation or wait until it comes for you – but the road ahead is unpredictable.
Leaders are facing hard truths in this new reality, whether you are struggling financially, scrambling to fill new positions, managing fear, or challenged with how to engage employees, teams, or groups from behind a screen.
Social distancing further complicated human connection. We were already communicating through screens long before the pandemic, so the intense need for connection may seem surprising. But the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, combined with growing divisiveness and polarization has led to a perfect storm of disconnection, where empathy and trust are hard to engage virtually.
In fact, 37% of U.S. workers feel less connected to their teammates than they did before the pandemic — and 31% feel less connected to their managers — according to an ongoing survey of employee sentiment, conducted by Glint.
Fears of illness or economic hardship, reduced connections with others, and working day after day with tools and processes not designed for sustained distancing or remote work are all wearing on us – whether employees, customers, or community partners.
If we’re likely to agree on anything in 2020, it’s that we’re more divided and isolated than ever before. Unaddressed, our inability to communicate and connect authentically to one another has the potential to impact everything from our bottom line to the people we lead.
It is important to shift in the months ahead to meet the changing needs of others with more empathy and human connection. Most leaders are not trained to facilitate human connection and build community, translating possibility into reality – and real, tangible results. This isn’t a leadership or facilitation skill taught in graduate schools. So, how? By creating trust, with vulnerability.
Human Connection: Built with Trust & Vulnerability
A cornerstone of human connection is feeling heard and being seen. Listening with curiosity, fostering emotional awareness, honoring others, and building trust without arguing, convincing, or letting triggers derail group settings are core SpiralMethod practices building vulnerability and trust in groups.
Despite good intent, challenging conversations in charged times can often veer into heated territory, causing frustration, inaction, resentment, and wasted time and effort – and more disconnection and disengagement. People want to be seen, heard, and understood – but authentic connection requires actively facilitating and holding safe spaces – safe for people to take off their masks of “agreement,” to move into “alignment.” For human connection to flourish, especially in these complex times, you need new leadership tools in your toolbox and practice them successfully.
Facilitating human connection is both art and science, but it’s not difficult when you learn from experts how to “set the table” with the right, heart-centered approach, and practice with peers. Whether you’re a professional facilitator, coach, or consultant; or a leader who’s readying your teams and organization for re-entry and an uncertain future; or a leader who sparks innovation, invention, and creativity, human connection is the currency to achieve results.
It is not more expertise, academic content, or thought leadership on human connection that we need. It is facilitating human connection – simple practices, and mastery of those practices, over time. Facilitating human connection is the “reset” Leadership practice most needed.