Three Ways to Transform Your Disconnected Team

Michelle Sales | Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Author

Three Ways to Transform Your Disconnected Team

To One that Collaborates and Thrives

Highly disconnected and disengaged employees don’t feel part of anything, have a low commitment and are usually only at work to do the bare minimum and collect their pay. Unfortunately, these individuals are common in Franchise teams everywhere today.

When people lack emotional connection to their work, they usually take more sick days, and there are performance and behavioural issues, with extreme cases leading to purposely causing harm and disruption to the entire business.

On the flipside, engaged employees feel a real sense of connection to their work, their leader and their peers. They want to work with others, which means collaboration happens and performance thrives.

A study by Gallup revealed that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share and even recovered at a faster rate from the recession. Also, people who feel connected to their leaders are more likely to remain with their organisations and act in ways that support the overall vision.

Companies that are voted ‘best place to work’ or an ‘employer of choice’ value and foster connection among their teams, colleagues and employees. As Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, senior vice president of research at PageUp People, puts it, these places are ‘meeting the more altruistic and basic human needs of feeling connected and being an important part in something bigger’.

As a leader, you are responsible for moving your people from feeling disconnected to connected – something that is not always easy. It takes focus, energy and emotional courage to do this. Here are three ways to help.

Be curious

Dr Diane Hamilton talks about the connection between curiosity and human performance in her book, Cracking the Curiosity Code. She lists the four factors that impact curiosity: Fear, Assumptions, Technology and Environment (FATE).

This fear plays out for leaders regularly. There is a need to have all the answers, to seem as smart and capable, and not to be vulnerable – all of these impact our curiosity.

Being curious and interested in your people is critical to building strong connections. As a leader, how else do you understand what drives and motivates your people if you are not curious? If you don’t invest the time in really getting to know them?

Being curious about your people as individuals will allow you to coach and motivate them using strategies and tools that are right for them rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

Great leaders are much more interested in listening to others than listening to themselves; to learning, to leveraging the talent and different strengths in the team. You can’t do this if you aren’t curious about what your people bring.

Show humility

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, claimed in 2018 that humility is one of four essential leadership traits in this era of disruption. Leaders who exhibit humility listen to their people and invite them to share their ideas and to challenge the status quo to improve and grow.

Part of the process of genuinely connecting with your people and being able to be humble is letting go of your excessive ego, insecurities and concerns about status.

Humility in leadership allows you to have an accurate perception of your strengths and weaknesses and to understand the needs of others. It allows you to recognise the contribution of others, which in turn means people feel valued.

Practice compassion

Christina Boedker of the Australian School of Business researched the link between leadership and organisational performance, collecting data from more than 5600 people in 77 organisations. She concluded that out of all the various elements in a business, the ability of a leader to be compassionate, ‘to understand people’s motivators, hopes and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be’, had the greatest correlation with profitability and productivity.

Employees feel greater trust in compassionate leaders. Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partner have shown that leaders who project warmth before establishing their competence are more effective than those who lead with toughness and skill. Trust that is created with warmth, kindness and compassion.

When trust is built; strong connections are created. This is when you move beyond just engagement and start to achieve real commitment and results from your people, both internal and external to the business.

Michelle Sales is a highly sought-after speaker, trainer, coach and author who helps senior leaders and their teams to build confidence and maximise their leadership and performance by consciously connecting with others. She is the author of the new whitepaper The Connection Deficit: Why leaders must bring both head and heart to work to build trust, lift engagement and accelerate organisational results. For more information on Michelle’s work visit www.michellesales.com.au