Posted by: The Dynamic Introvert | October 8, 2012

What Do We Fear At Work?

Hey there, how was your weekend? Mine was fantastic!

Here at Healing the Workplace we believe that positive organizational change really does start at the top whether it is the top of the team, the unit, the department, or the entire organization. The person in the lead sets the tone and everyone takes note.

At present I am researching and writing a book about leadership and introversion. One of the challenges for introverted leaders is to be more visible…basically get out of your office and develop relationships with the people you work with. Of course this message is not just for introverts. Extroverts, you need to be more visible too!

So, I was intrigued by a report from Blessing White that came into my inbox recently. The report is entitled, The Importance of Being Known, and the gist of it is this,

“that managers can have a positive impact on their team’s engagement simply by opening up a bit more and becoming better known as a person.”

Shortly after I read the Blessing White report  I discovered an article by Denise Straughn about the importance of friendship at work. Denise quotes the Gallup Organization’s landmark research on the impact of friendship at work that reinforces the Blessing White research.

Guess what Gallup discovered?

“When employees have close friendships with their boss, they are more than twice as likely to be satisfied with their jobs.”

I’m not sure being close friends with one’s boss is very realistic. It might be possible in a small organization or in a team-based organization. But regardless, I do believe that people in leadership roles need to be more open and willing to share personal information about themselves. They also need to do this in an authentic way. The Blessing White Report stated:

“While companies focus on equipping managers with tactical skills such as delegation or matching individual talents to tasks, engagement is driven more effectively through leadership and connection skills. Particularly difficult for a manager is the challenge of authenticity – because typically they are being taught how to behave, how to ‘play a role’. In actual fact, it’s becoming better known as a person to their direct reports – not being the person they think they ought to be – that will build the relationship needed to increase engagement.”

Doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert…building relationships and connecting with people leads to increased trust and engagement and better outcomes for both employees and organizations.

What Do People Fear At Work?

This past month a senior leader in a prominent Vancouver-based organization told me about her dismay when she discovered that in many local organizations,

  • Friendships are actively discouraged
  • People work in fear of having their personal information used against them
  • Getting to know co-workers is considered dangerous

She was conducting a survey on connections and engagement!

The bottom line is that many people in our organizations feel disconnected and this sense of disconnection affects everything that they do…and it affects the bottom line…negatively.

So, what are we doing about this?


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