There are few things as important to your personal happiness as your social network. We evolved to depend upon and love one another, so it is not surprising that it would be crucial for well being.
A study of 268 Harvard Graduates for 40+ years yielded a one word answer to happiness: Love. The researchers concluded, “Like food and air, we need social relationships to survive.”
A second 70 year study of Harvard Men found social bonds were predictive of:
- Career Achievement
We can use this information to protect our well being when things are not going well.
It is crucial to resist the urge to isolate ourselves to “put our shoulder to the wheel” and go it alone. Instead, it is the time to reach out to our network and band together in crisis.
In business, we can use our social networks’ happiness bolstering effects to our advantage as well. More Robust Social Networks predict:
- Promotes Individual Learning
- Continual Improvement
“The people we interviewed from good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did largely because they loved who they did it with.”- Jim Collins
For managers, the more that you encourage socializing:
- Higher employee engagement
- Higher energy level of your team
- Better team focus
A study of 350 employees in 60 business units found that the greatest predictor of a team’s achievement was how they felt about one another.
When IBM found that an employee generated $948 in revenue for every additional e-mail contact they had, they started facilitating introductions of its employees.
UPS Management encourages drivers to get together at lunch to socialize.
The disproportionately important relationship at work is the one between the boss and their employee. Employees with a difficult relationship with their manager are 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. That is as bad as a steady diet of fried foods. Conversely, the employees with the strongest relationship to their manager brought in an extra $588.00 per month in revenue.
A Gallup study of ten million employees worldwide found that employees who agree with the statement, “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person” were:
- More productive
- Contributed more to profits
- More likely to stay
All of this evidence, and, yet, we frequently fail, as leaders, to invest in our relationships.
Starting now, let’s fight through this list of excuses and build our relationships:
- There are not enough hours in the day.
- It will undermine my authority.
- There is never time, because we are in perpetual crisis mode.
- Work is for work, not friendships.
So, what can all of us do to start investing in relationships? It is a series of small things:
- Look everyone in the eye when you encounter them.
- Smile more often
- Ask interested questions of the people around you
- Schedule face to face meetings
- Initiate non-work talks
- Share good news abundantly
- Respond enthusiastically to good news when it is shared with you
- Introduce new employees to everyone
- Allow employees to have the space and time for social connections
- Encourage and setup team lunches
- Setup and encourage after hour socialization
- Use language that promotes unity i.e. we, us etc.
- Engage in active listening
- Manage by walking around to interact with all team members
- Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise the good things being done around you.
- Express gratitude / say thank you for all the contributions that the people around you are making.
Start investing in your social networks today and see your happiness skyrocket.
Just my opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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