The “Great Disconnection” through working remote

As the Great Resignation or the “Great Disconnection” rages on through working remote and/or hybrid, here are four tools to help your team build stronger relationships at work. These are excerpts from a January 2022 HBR Article by Adam Smiley Poswolsky.

  1. Make workplace connection a ritual.

Whenever possible, create consistent connection rituals that offer praise and appreciation on an ongoing basis. An example might be Gratitude Mondays, where employees start each week by sharing something they are grateful for. Or Storytelling Fridays, where each week, a different employee can share a personal story and their coworkers can ask follow-up questions. Vulnerable sharing and storytelling spark curiosity and compassion and have been shown to foster belonging.

  1. Make it easier to ask for support.

According to social psychologist Heidi Grant, 75% to 90% of all help coworkers give to one another starts with making an ask. Creating reciprocity rings –a group assembled to give help, advice, resources, etc. to one another (Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take) —will help build consistency and structure into how your colleagues are able to ask for help. When employees are invested in each other’s personal growth, you will build a culture where friendships can thrive.

  1. Make onboarding more experiential.

Onboarding is a critical first opportunity to facilitate friendships at work. Since the pandemic, millions of employees have started new jobs and have never met one of their colleagues in-person. Especially for early career employees, this can be incredibly challenging. Joanna Miller, Asana, recommends this onboarding exercise: new employees ask their most burning questions — the things they are most uncertain or curious about with the rest of the group. Team members can then offer advice, insights, and support to them. The onboarding exercise creates psychological safety that comes from being in a safe environment to admit mistakes, ask questions, and try new things. Employees immediately experience what mutual support feels like, which creates a container for deeper connection.

  1. Make recharging a reality.

In the wake of a pandemic that has deepened an epidemic of loneliness and disconnection, we need to lead with compassion and take better care of each other. For human connection and friendship to thrive, we need to take employee health seriously. We can start by supporting more generous family leave policies, childcare and elder care, access to mental health services, time off for renewal, and “work-free hours” so employees can recharge by spending more time with family and friends. Having more phone calls and in-person conversations at work also reduces loneliness. During the workday, encourage “phone a friend breaks” where employees call a friend or someone important in their life (or if possible, go for a walk together). Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 50% higher level of health and well-being, a 50% greater capacity for creative thinking, and a 30% higher level of focus. Try adding “five minutes of play” to the start of in-person or virtual team meetings, in the form of a connection exercise, interactive icebreaker, or game. Time spent playing with your colleagues can lead to deeper relationships and better collaboration.

In today’s lonely world, human connection is everyone’s job. It’s an essential part of building a great place to work and a more resilient society.

Decisions and Dialogue in Meetings


Decisions and Dialogue in Meetings

We are conducting many meetings in a hybrid environment. It is more important than ever to be decisive in meetings to establish clarity and accountability. Please review this checklist from Ram Charan’s HBR Article April 2001,  “Conquering a Culture of Indecision.” I hope it gives you reminders on how to make sure your culture decisive.

It all begins with dialogue. During each encounter with employees, model honest, open, and decisive dialogue. Ask realism-testing questions and insight-generating questions. Turn dialogue into action. Infuse honest dialogue into every meeting,and clarify accountability for reaching and executing decisions. Decisive meetings are:

  • Open–their outcomes are not predetermined. Ask questions like, “What are we missing?” Signal honest searching for alternative perspectives
  • Candid–encouraging people to air the conflicts that undermine apparent consensus. When people express their real opinions, not what they’re “supposed” to say, productivity rises.
  • Informal–unscripted, with honest questions and spontaneity.
  • Marked by closure–people leave knowing exactly what they’re expected to do.
  • Use follow-through and feedback to sustain action and productivity. Through honest feedback, leaders reward high achievers, coach struggling employees, and discourage progress-blocking behaviors.

Dialogue Killers

Is the dialogue in your meetings an energy drain? If it doesn’t energize people and focus their work, watch for the following:

Dangling Dialogue

Symptom: Confusion prevails. The meeting ends without a clear next step. People create their own self-serving interpretations of the meeting, and no one can be held accountable later when goals aren’t met.

Remedy: Give the meeting closure by ensuring that everyone knows who will do what, by when. Do it in writing if necessary, and be specific.

Information Clogs

Symptom: Failure to get all of the information into the open. An important fact or opinion comes to light after a decision has been reached, which reopens the decision. This pattern happens repeatedly.

Remedy: Ensure that the right people are in attendance in the first place. When missing information is discovered, disseminate it immediately. Make the expectation for openness and candor explicit by asking, “What’s missing?” Use coaching and sanctions to correct information hoarding.

Piecemeal Perspectives

Symptom: People stick to narrow views and self-interests and fail to acknowledge that others have valid interests.

Remedy: Draw people out until you’re sure all sides of the issue have been represented. Restate the common purpose repeatedly to keep everyone focused on the big picture. Generate alternatives. Use coaching to show people how their work contributes to the overall mission of the organization.

Free for All 

Symptom: By failing to direct the flow of the discussion, the leader allows negative behaviors to flourish. “Extortionists” hold the whole group for ransom until others see it their way; “sidetrackers” go off on tangents, recount history by saying “When I did this ten years ago…,’or delve into unnecessary detail; “silent liars” do not express their true opinions, or they agree to things they have no intention of doing; and “dividers” create breaches within the group by seeking support for their viewpoint outside the social operating mechanism or have parallel discussions during the meeting.

Remedy: The leader must exercise inner strength by repeatedly signaling which behaviors are acceptable and by sanctioning those who persist in negative behavior. If less severe sanctions fail, the leader must be willing to remove the offending player from the group.

Top 15 Coaches in Phoenix in 2022

Influence Digest has named us a Top 15 Coaches in Phoenix for 2022!

Snippet from Influence Digest: Lynne is an executive coach and organizational and team development consultant specializing in commercial and government sectors. She seeks to bring out the best in organizations, individuals in leadership roles and diverse groups.

We are pleased to include Lynne on this list for her incredible performance, results, and reviews!