Connection Intention: Chelsea Stebner on fostering connection in the workplace

By Chelsea Stebner

We often joke about being a big family, yet it’s not a joke, it’s truth. True connection in the workplace is invaluable. It nurtures healthy relationships and drives teamwork.

As a leader in your organization, do this check-in with yourself; When was the last time you walked through the shop and said Good Morning to each member of your team?  When was the last time you gave someone a compliment? When was the last time you celebrated a win? Even a small one? When was the last time that you sat down with a teammate just to ask them how they are doing?  Not a performance review, but simply–how’s life?

It’s pretty darn easy to get trapped in all day-to-day, must-do tasks, phone calls and emails; however, in doing so we miss some of the important moments.  Connection with people. Your people. Your stakeholders. The people that help make your world spin round. 

Work relationships are incredibly important. They are more than just “getting along” with one another.  A workplace with strong social connections is a happier place to be a part of. When people are happier and connected with each other, the stress level goes down and engagement and loyalty go up.  Your leadership in creating relationships will spur others to do the same.

When we understand one another and know what’s going on in people’s lives, we can act with compassion and understanding in more situations and we can coach and guide people in a better direction. 

Now, you might be thinking Chelsea: give me a break.  We’re here to earn dollars and get a job done. We’re not here to mollycoddle people and hold hands and sing kumbaya.  Yep, you’re right. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat. We are most definitely here to earn dollars. That’s the basis of business.  But I’m willing to bet you want longevity in your business and you’re not just looking for a quick buck and that means you better be willing to dig deep and figure out how to engage your people for the long game.

This next month, make a connection with your team as one of your goals. Make it a mandatory part of your day to be more engaged with people and watch the transformation. You will see someone light up when you ask what they did with their kids last weekend, or how their project vehicle is coming along. Even better, when you share with your team the great review from Mrs. Jones’ vehicle repair and celebrate how great you did as a team.

When we focus on others a little bit more, instead of being so focused on getting stuff done, we foster an environment of positivity which in turn will create a stronger team. And that is worth connecting for.

Chelsea Stebner the co-owner and operator of Parr Auto Body, a collision repair facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She can be reached at chelsea@parrautobody.com.

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