Moving teams from ‘Isolated’ to ‘All In’
Trying to focus on our jobs and our lives at home can be draining. It can also be isolating. As leaders, it is our job to help foster uplifting workplaces for our employees, and that means building an environment of authenticity and community.
In a recent post, blogger Eric Jacobsen interviews authors Ryan Jenkins and Steven Van Cohen, co-authors of the book Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams from Isolated to All In. The book touches on identifying loneliness and burnout in employees, and how to create environments that are more connected, driven, and inclusive in the workplace.
When asked about what inspired them to write this book, Jenkins and Van Cohen attributed to research they had collected in 2019 from employees that reported a high percentage of feeling alone. During the pandemic, these results skyrocketed as more and more people felt more frequent and normalized instances of loneliness and isolation.
To help leaders lessen worker loneliness, Jenkins and Van Cohen share three main strategies, including:
- lead with context, not control by building trust and being transparent with teams;
- establish psychological safety using proportional conversations in everyday meetings; and
- promote work-life balance by encouraging volunteering, vacations, and extending PTO for big life events.
In the end, Jenkins and Van Cohen say the best way to support others during this loneliness epidemic is to engage in small, pro-social behaviors every day. Something as simple as having a 1 on 1 conversation with an employee, befriending coworkers, or spending five minutes to share a personal story before or after a team meeting goes a long way.
As leaders, it’s important to remember that just like us, all employees are human. There can be some ups and downs in life and it’s important to make sure their work environment is understanding and breathable, rather than suffocating and isolating.