It’s great to connect with you again. We really mean that.

As the pandemic continues on – for almost all of us – this time in our life will be remembered long into the future for how different and how long it was…as weeks of home-working moved into months…into years.

Working like this as our own University changes so much has brought home to us personally how much each of us has to show up for our colleagues and members of our teams. Amidst all the ongoing normal challenges and travails associated of doing work well—we don’t often get to connect in many of the face-to-face ways that help sustain people and teams. Meetings are our frequent business – but all too frequently are all business. True connection can suffer.

These days we often ask ourselves: what does leadership look like? In COVID-land especially, this is often about really listening, reaching out, and trying to show up fully to connect with others.

Being truly seen in our work and in our lives is precious but under-emphasized. This is the essence of connection and the pathway to our identities and our highest and more fulfilling contributions. So seldom however do you feel truly seen by others for who you are and what you seek to do. Do you prioritize time to truly see others? To prioritize cutting through the noise to see how the people around you try to show up and express who they are in their work and life? Take time this month to connect with a colleague, student, or friend and give positive feedback on how you see them in their work and their life? What can you say and do authentically to make them feel seen? We promise you: it will make their day.

In this month’s remarkable resource : we share on “Connection Culture” a book by Michael Lee Stallard on how leadership and organizational cultures can reject cultures of control or indifference, to focus on connecting with people: the X-factor in organizations that care and support people to be their best selves.

Remarkable Resource

Connection Culture by Michael Lee Stallard 

What characterizes your workplace culture? Is it a culture of control—characterized by people holding onto power, using status, and forcing their way? Is it a culture of indifference—preoccupied with addressing the next thing, pushing through, and people earning wages? Or…is it a culture of connection—one which seeks to be as excellent in work relationships as work tasks? This research-based book avowedly addresses why more workplaces need more connection and less control and indifferent cultures.


Key Messages

  • 4 out of 5 workers today feel low engagement at and in work because their workplace organizations are cultures of control or indifference. These workplace cultures drive people apart, promoting disconnection, and reducing individual and organizational performance and well-being.
  • Connection cultures conversely foster: true respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth, meaning, and progress. They promote a sense of connection with both the work and the workplace, and increase individual and organizational performance and well-being.
  • Organizations can move to be connection cultures via developing a more shared sense of where the organization is going, listening and harnessing to all diverse voices with openness, and truly valuing people—not just their productivity. Connection cultures help foster workplaces which have higher empathy, stronger engagement, and better agility.

    Key Applications

    • Which of the three types of work culture (control, indifference, and connection) is most dominant in your workplace? How has this changed over time? What makes it so?
    • What three priorities could your workplace set around vision, values, or voice to promote a connection culture? What’s stopping this? What’s the right first step?
    • In your own team, lab, or circles, what three priorities could you set around vision, values, or voice to promote more connection culture? What’s the right next step?