Three things everyone truly yearns for is to be accepted, to get connected and to feel respected. These all translate to increased motivation and desire to be present and to perform well at work, home and play. Don’t you like to feel accepted, connected and respected? Do you create environments where others sense these values? When someone feels value and acceptance, studies show direct connection to performance, longevity and devotion.
People feel accepted when they are positively noticed. A welcome smile can make that happen. A simple look speaks volumes accidentally or on purpose. Your look lets others know if you are glad or mad they are present. Or worse, your kind of look or not looking at all hints at indifference. All of us have walked into an unfamiliar experience and felt a little unsure if you were in the right place, as you looked for someone familiar. Then it happens; the smile and hello that breaks the ice for you and communicates that you are in the right place. It makes you feel welcomed. To enhance an accepting environment, notice people and act happy they are around.
Connection is a step beyond acceptance. When I’m accepted it means I’m emotionally (or physically) safe. Getting connected is accomplished by finding, well, connections. What do we have in common? Do we have similar interests and experiences? Do I know someone you should know? It’s like moving from acquaintances to buddies. More than a smile and hello, this is the move to give people the sense that they are not only welcome, but that they belong. If you ask enough questions and really listen, you can find a connection with anyone, anywhere.
Think of respect like this: when you have respect for someone, you are glad when they are around and miss them when they are not. You don’t just notice that they are gone, you really miss who they are and what they bring. In part, respect is letting people know they matter and how they matter. Skills matter. Energy brought to a room matters. Encouragement matters. Teamwork, leadership and experience all matter. When we feel like we matter, we feel valued. When humans feel value and worth, they will work harder, put up with more hardship, stay longer, be more devoted and be better people overall.
How can you make your environments more accepting, connecting and respecting? Pay attention to what’s going on around you and actively reach out to those on the fringe.
Ask questions to learn about others and don’t just wait to talk about yourself.
Tell people what you value in them and let them know what they bring to your team. Work towards these things and everyone benefits. Do your part to be the good.
Steve Sweeney at Serious Fun would be happy to work with your team to help them understand and employ what it would take to make your workplace more accepting, respecting and connecting.