The Power of Personal Connection

When you walk into a room, do you put a smile on their faces, or does your presence remove the smile from their faces? Every one of us, no matter our role in the organization, is constantly sending signals that impact others.  I was once asked that opening question, and it set me on a track to be deliberate about how I connect with others. 

In a world driven by technology and automation, it’s easy for leaders to overlook the importance of personal connection within their organizations. However, beneath the surface of spreadsheets and bottom lines lies a powerful truth – fostering genuine connections with employees can lead to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and a more harmonious work environment.

Before diving into examples of how leaders can forge meaningful connections, let’s take a moment to explore some compelling statistics that highlight the impact of personal connection in the workplace:

  • According to a Gallup study, employees who strongly agree that they have a best friend at work are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their jobs. In fact, these engaged employees are 50% more likely to have high levels of productivity.
  • A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that personal connections between leaders and employees contribute significantly to employee well-being and job performance.
  • Research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that employees who feel a personal connection with their superiors are more likely to stay with the company long-term. This is where you come in!

Here are a few unique ways you can begin to conduct more personal interactions in your organization:

1.  Coffee Meetings: Instead of confining communication to formal meetings, leaders can organize casual coffee talk sessions.  No agenda, just open conversation. These sessions provide an opportunity for employees to engage in open conversations, share their thoughts, and build rapport with their leaders. By creating a relaxed atmosphere, leaders can foster a sense of belonging and show genuine interest in their employees’ ideas and concerns.

2. Mentoring and Reverse Mentoring: Effective leaders understand that investing time and effort in mentoring their employees not only helps them grow professionally but also strengthens the bond between them. How about a Reverse Mentoring relationship where you allow one or more younger tenured employees to mentor you about what is important to them and their peers? By actively participating in mentorship programs, leaders can offer guidance, support, and encouragement to employees, demonstrating a personal commitment to their growth and development.

3. Celebrate Good Times: Leaders can create a culture of appreciation by recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of their employees. Regularly acknowledging individual achievements, both privately and publicly, not only boosts morale but also cultivates a sense of personal connection. By taking the time to appreciate their employees’ hard work, leaders demonstrate that they see and value the contributions made by each team member. You will be amazed at how powerful a dozen donuts can be for morale!

We can then take things a step further and work on our ability to personally interact with our employees. Remember, the key to establishing a personal connection is authenticity. Be yourself, be present in the moment, and genuinely care about the person you are interacting with. By following these tips, you can lay the foundation for a meaningful connection right and triggering positive neural transmitters:

1. Oxytocin and Trust Building: Oxytocin is a hormone known for its role in bonding and social connection. By engaging in activities that naturally increase oxytocin levels, such as acts of kindness and active listening, you can foster a deeper sense of trust and connection. Small gestures like offering a genuine compliment or showing appreciation can release oxytocin and create a positive association with your presence.

2. Mirror Neurons and Empathy: Mirror neurons are specialized cells in our brains that fire both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else performing the same action. They play a crucial role in empathy. When we genuinely care about others, we tend sometimes to mirror their posture, gesture, or hand position.  This sends signals to their brain that drive authentic connectivity and trust.

3. Storytelling and Dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Sharing stories triggers the release of dopamine in our brains and enhances engagement and connection. When establishing a personal connection, incorporate storytelling techniques into your conversation. Share personal anecdotes, experiences, or narratives that are emotionally resonant. This not only captivates the listener’s attention but also creates a shared experience, fostering a deeper connection.

We would love to hear how you put these tips to work for you! Feel free to send us your feedback at

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