Vaccinations and Social Connections
While 2020 might be a year many people would like to forget, recent events have highlighted an essential component of the Corporate Family® experience that leaders would be remiss to ignore. In January of 2021, people from all walks of life not only began to receive COVID vaccinations but also experienced critical social connections which had been almost non-existent since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
One of those vaccination experiences we were privy to occurred at a hospital which gave employees and first responders the opportunity to interact with team members from other departments and different regional locations in their medical services providing Corporate Family®. As one doctor reported, many of those medical professionals were excited and even joyful about connecting with other team members after the isolation the pandemic had necessitated. In numerous instances, doctors and nurses explained how the interpersonal connections that transpired were more satisfying than finally receiving the long-awaited COVID-19 inoculation.
At a large, regionwide vaccination event, healthcare workers shared with us how thrilled they were to see so many individuals gathered in one place again. And although that Vaccination Super Station only allowed for a drive-thru experience, participants seemed equally excited about interacting with those essential workers who provided the inoculations and also clapped and cheered for patients upon completion of the process. The measurable elation of provider and patient alike was personally moving as we observed the unanticipated scene.
Similar emotional responses are being replicated as vaccination efforts intensify, underscoring the vital role social connections play in human interactions. Yet we don’t need a vaccination rollout to prove what many leaders have recognized for years: people need people to survive and thrive. Social connectivity produces extraordinary benefits, and research findings suggest that “positive social support of high quality can enhance resilience to stress, help protect against developing trauma-related psychopathology, decrease the functional consequences of trauma-induced disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and reduce medical morbidity and mortality” (for more details, see “The Psychobiology of Depression and Resilience to Stress: Implications for Prevention and Treatment,” at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17716089/).
Many in leadership roles would certainly agree that social support within their organizations is important, especially when positive outcomes for team members are so profound. The problem those leaders face, however, is how to address the interpersonal needs of their Corporate Family® while also meeting daily operational objectives.
At LEADon®, we believe the best method for developing essential social connections within your organization involves a simple, four-step process:
- Build Trust and commitment among team members.
- Encourage a culture of appreciation throughout your organization.
- Ensure team members Attach to one another.
- Model the values and beliefs you’d like Corporate Family® members to replicate.
These four steps can easily be remembered by the acronym T.E.A.M.. At the vaccination experiences described above, we noted all four elements for improving social connections. For example, sponsors for each event established a level of trust in the vaccination process long before patients arrived, and the healthcare workers offered encouragement before, during, and after the event—even cheering for people who participated. The concept of “I need you; you need me” is fundamental for proper attachment, and this was certainly observed at both inoculation experiences. Finally, those running the events had already been vaccinated themselves—role modeling the critical nature of the process they were encouraging others to undertake.
As a leader, you can readily implement this four-step T.E.A.M. method in your Corporate Family® too. Building trust should be your first order of business—with co-workers and your clientele. Next, you can create and encourage an exceptional culture of appreciation, one where team members feel valued and pass on an attitude of gratitude to others with whom they interact. Ensuring attachment is an intentional effort, so be sure to provide opportunities for your employees to get to know one another and spend time connecting, personally and professionally. Finally, if you want your organization’s core principles to truly resonate, you must role model those values to everyone in your sphere of influence.
Over the years, LEADon® has encouraged the implementation of this T.E.A.M. method in organizations from ten to tens of thousands of employees. The results we’ve witnessed have been consistent. Leaders who make an effort to increase positive social connections in their Corporate Family® discover that productivity and profitability rise proportionately. In addition, those leaders report improved social interactions with clientele, which may prove pivotal to your Corporate Family’s® long-term success.
The team at LEADon® has numerous resources to assist you as you move through 2021, including free blogs like “Team Capabilities: Creating Group Synergy in Pursuing Collective Goals” (www.leadonuniversity.com/team-capabilities-creating-group-synergy-in-pursuing-collective-goals/). We also offer over thirty online courses that address a variety of your leadership needs, including LEADing by Building a High Performance T.E.A.M.® (go to www.LEADonUniversity.com for more information). If we can answer any specific questions you may have, please feel free to contact us directly at 858.592.0700.