Fired Up or Burned Out (Part 3)

I’m reading “Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity” and just sharing my reflections here. Part 1 is here Part 2 is here.

Chapter 2: The Science of Connection

In recent years, neuroscientists have discovered that positive human contact has a physiological effect on people… (pg. 9)

Other research establishes that connection improves mental and physical health… (pg. 10-11)

Layman’s terms: connection makes us feel good. Connection provides a sense of well-being, it minimizes stress, and it makes us more trusting.

We have deeply felt needs to be respected, to be recognized for our talents, to belong, to have autonomy or control over our work, to experience personal growth, and to do work that we feel has meaning and to do it in a way that we feel is ethical.

People want and need to be valued.

When people are shown respect in the workplace and their real talents and contributions are genuinely recognized, they become fired up. They put their hearts into their work.

People who over control us send the message that we are incompetent and that we are not trusted or respected.

Connection is enhanced when we experience personal growth… When we are in the right role and therefore more productive, people notice and affirm us. This also increases our sense of connection to the group. Finally we are motivated when we know our work is meaningful.

We need to remind people constantly how important what we are doing as an organization is. Celebrations, weekly updates of victories, stories, and opportunities to share “wins” should be the DNA of our meetings. We should hear what is happening in other departments, a win for them is a win for all of us.

So what? The findings of neuroscientists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and medical researchers support that a higher degree of connection improves our mental and physical performance. We ignore it at our peril.

This past week our School had the last faculty meeting of the year. Our new Superintendent and I were discussing the agenda of the meeting, and as we did we decided that we would spend the entire meeting just giving teachers kudos and giving them time to encourage one another. We had about ten teachers on the agenda to brag on. What happened was amazing. For the hour and a half that we met there was clapping, laughing, crying, and so much sharing that we had to actually stop people and move on.

I think this just goes to prove that people want and need to be valued – to hear that they are appreciated, making a difference, and growing in their roles.

I think the bottom line is this: Understand that there is a science to connection; an if then equation. If people feel connected, then they put their heart into their work and from that blossoms positivity, trust, innovation, etc.

Next: The Connection Culture (what does this look like?)