Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Dixie Gillaspie for the SaaS Field Manual podcast. Because the mantra of SFM is Cultivate Joy—Reduce Suffering, the last thing I ask each guest is to provide their take on how to do one or both of those things int their personal or professional lives. Dixie answer the question like this, “One of the things I see most consistently bring joy is to recognize the value in someone else. When you look at someone else and you say, ‘I see you…and I see you as valuable, I see you as precious, and unique’ it almost never fails.” I found that to be incredibly beautiful and I began to think back on all the bosses I’ve ever had in my life and how many of them did that. Not to my surprise (or likely yours) I can count the number using less than one hand.
Then I remembered a piece I heard on the news this week regarding Tinder making it to #1 in the iTunes App Store. I first thought to myself, “Well way to go Tinder! The company that made swiping right a household euphemism is finally getting their due.” Then I did a little research and found out the real reason why they peaked at number one was because for the first time in their history they allowed paid subscribers the ability to see who liked them. Definitely a solid move for their revenue model…we’ll see how engagement trends in the upcoming weeks and months.
So how did these two random events collide into a single stream of consciousness? It seems that based on our app usage we’re all just looking for connection. In the case of Tinder, that connection may be slightly more carnal in nature but I have to believe that many are just looking to meet someone in their personal lives to share their life with. To be open and vulnerable with. To love. My question is how much of that is acceptable to get from your work life?
When I think of the bosses who have most effected by life they’re also the ones who genuinely cared the most. They were the most emotionally and spiritually healthy. They had a deep connection to a power greater than themselves. As a result of all those things they made me feel a part of. They also, as Dixie said during the podcast, “saw me.” As a result, I became more attached to them…sometimes for the good and the bad. Brené Brown talks about joy and vulnerability being two sides of the same coin. As I became more vulnerable with my supervisor (and vice versa) I enjoyed my job more. But the flip-side of that was when things started going sideways with the organization my vulnerability also made me susceptible to significant discomfort.
If we’re all seeking emotional connection in our lives how acceptable is it to give and receive that emotional connection in the workplace? Gallup rates, “Having a Friend at Work” number 10 on a list of 12 indicators for high retention so what are we afraid of when we show a little heart, compassion and vulnerability in the workplace. I’d like to know your thoughts. What are you willing and/or unwilling to do when it comes to creating an emotional connection with your peers, supervisors or employees?