Personal Connection

The Top 7 Tips on How to Deal With Anxiety at Work

The Top 7 Tips on How to Deal With Anxiety at Work 940 627 VP Legacies

The Top Tips on How to Deal With Anxiety at Work

Most of our lives are centered around our careers. Our jobs provide money for the things we need. As a result, we often feel the pressure to outperform ourselves and succeed to the highest degree.

Naturally, this can lead to anxiety. Anxiety to perform well, get along with our co-workers, and stay in our boss’s good graces. However, while some of these stressors help drive us to become the best versions of ourselves, they can also lead to crippling anxiety.

At VP Legacies, we strive to make your workplace environment healthy by creating channels for positive Personal Connection®. Follow along as we dive into our top seven tips on how to deal with anxiety at work, where it comes from, and how it can affect you.

Related: Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

Why Do You Get Anxious?

First, let’s talk about why you get anxiety.

For many people who suffer from social anxiety, there’s a level of nervousness that presents itself simply from being around others. However, there are a wide variety of jobs, work environments, and causes behind work-related social anxiety.

To learn how to deal with anxiety at work, you must first establish where the anxiety comes from. Here are the two most common sources.

High Expectations

The business arena is a dog-eat-dog world. More than 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years. If the company you work for isn’t better than it’s competitors, it will soon go under and you would be out of a job.

There’s a reason your boss pushes for efficient work environments and ever-improving productivity. Unfortunately, these high expectations from above can lead to overwhelming anxiety, which can have several negative side effects.

Tip #1 – Learning how to deal with anxiety at work means learning how to communicate openly with your boss. Don’t agree to improbable deadlines or take on more than you can handle. Ask for clarification if you’re confused or need more guidance. 

Related : Tips for Having a Tough Conversation With your Boss

Facing New Scenarios

Another common source of anxiety in the workplace comes from facing new and potentially “scary” scenarios at work. What if you can’t handle it? What if you somehow embarrass yourself?

In a growing and thriving business, new scenarios are inevitable. They’re also desirable. By embracing new scenarios and responsibilities, you can grow with the company, improve your skillset, and learn new things, making yourself increasingly valuable to your employers.

Tip #2 – Accept that anxiety isn’t reality; it is a limiting fear of a possible event that may never happen. The more you indulge those negative thoughts and feelings, the more you will be crippled by them and lose opportunities to build Personal Connection® with those around you. Stay conscious about the things you’re telling yourself and shape them into positive thoughts.

Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

How Anxiety Can Affect You

As we have already suggested, anxiety can be a debilitating mental disorder. Learning how to deal with anxiety at work is vital for your performance but also your sense of well-being. Failing to address your anxiety can lead to several negative outcomes, such as:

  • Inability to focus
  • Irritability
  • Poor performance
  • Lack of communication
  • Distancing yourself from co-workers
  • Nervous habits (excessive eating, chewing your fingernails, restlessness, fidgeting, etc.)
  • Potential disciplinary actions

Tip #3 – Some anxiety at work is unavoidable. Learn to embrace the natural feeling of discomfort and work through it by turning your thoughts outward toward the task, rather than focusing on your anxiety. 

Facing Anxiety in Different Scenarios

Let’s take a closer look at different scenarios in the workplace that may cause you anxiety. Keep in mind, once again, that some of these scenarios do entail a certain level of expected anxiety. The key is learning how to overcome debilitating or detrimental anxiety.

Daily Interactions

Daily interactions is an especially important area to focus on how to deal with anxiety at work. Soft skills are an important part of everyday life at work.

Soft skills refer to your ability to communicate and get along with others. While it may be your anxiety keeping you from speaking with others, it may be misinterpreted. Your co-workers may find you unfriendly or your boss may see you as uninvested.

Tip #4 –  Educate yourself on and practice soft skills. For example, learn everyone’s name and something important about them. Say “hi” or acknowledge people in passing and avoid gossiping. You can educate yourself on soft skills by taking a look at our Personal Connection® 101 course. If you’re a manager, you can implement it as part of ongoing training.

Small Meetings

Three employees on their laptops hold a small meeting.

For some people, a small meeting may pose a bigger opportunity for anxiety than larger meetings. They’re more intimate and it’s probably inevitable that the attention will fall on you at some point.

However, small meetings are vital for increasing productivity and critical thinking. It’s important that you’re fully present and involved. This is not a good time to retreat into yourself and shy away from the conversation.

Large Meetings

If larger groups of people intimidate you, learning how to deal with anxiety at work may be vital for functioning in bigger meetings. Fortunately, in bigger meetings, you’re less likely to be in the spotlight. However, should the spotlight fall on you, you need to be able to speak and perform.

Tip #5 – Avoid obsessing over the room’s attention falling on you. Instead, focus on what the speaker is saying. This will help you stay in the moment and soften the internal monologue of negative thoughts in your head.

One-On-Ones

One-on-one scenarios, especially with executives or people with management positions, can be exceedingly difficult for people who suffer from social anxiety. In these scenarios, you have the undivided attention of the person across from you. This can be made worse if the one-on-one is with your boss. 

Once again, we encourage you to direct your attention outward. Don’t get sucked into worrying about how nervous you are, how you look, what they’re thinking about you, and so on. Remember that it doesn’t have to be scary, and this is one of the best chances to really get to know someone and build Personal Connection®.

Giving a Speech

A man in a blazer gives a speech.

In America, people’s biggest fear is public speaking. It’s normal for you to have anxiety before speaking in front of a group of people. However, if it’s part of your job, it’s something you’ll have to learn to overcome.

Tip #6 – Focus on the facts and the issue at hand. While it may feel overwhelming to have all eyes on you, remember your purpose for being there. Focus on using neutral language (“I think, I feel”) and ask for input to keep everyone involved.

Realizing Discomfort is Normal

Finally, we spoke earlier about how certain levels of anxiety are normal, and can even be good. If there was nothing new, nothing challenging, and nothing uncertain in life, we would be a truly boring existence. 

Not only is it normal for you to feel anxiety, but everyone around you feels it too. While some may be able to handle it better or in different ways, understand that you’re not alone.

Tip #7 – Practice radical acceptance that certain moments in life and at work are going to be uncomfortable. Embrace these moments for what they are – the ultimate teachers. Most of our significant growth happens through pain and discomfort.

Do You Need Help Learning How to Deal With Anxiety at Work?

If you want to advance in your career and thrive in life, learning how to deal with anxiety at work is paramount. However, depending on the severity of your anxiety, you may not be able to do it on your own, and that’s okay. We can help.

Take a look at some of our courses, like Personal Connection® 101, designed to immediately create positive changes in your life. 

Related: What is the Personal Connection Crisis?

 

How to Maintain Real Connections with Your Professional Network

How to Maintain Real Connections with Your Professional Network 1214 614 VP Legacies

When was the last time you worked on building your professional network? If you can’t remember the last time you made a new professional connection or made the effort to attend a networking event, this is a post you need to read.

Networking is essential for improving your career, and it’s something that every professional should do regardless of how much experience they have or how long they’ve been working. 

If you find that you don’t enjoy networking, it’s possible that it’s because you haven’t been focused on making real connections. 

Approaching every networking opportunity with a robotic-like focus on getting a business card won’t be helpful for anyone involved. You start to see the true benefits of networking when you focus on making actual connections with everyone there. 

It’s time to change your approach to networking. We’re going to teach you why networking is important, why you should take an approach of Personal Connection®, and some strategies for building authentic connections with people you meet. Here’s VP Legacies’ guide to networking with genuine enthusiasm and authenticity.

Related: What is the Personal Connection Crisis?

The Importance of Networking

Some people have a problem with networking because they feel awkward making connections for business purposes. Or it’s possible that they don’t feel comfortable in social situations. 

Regardless of how you feel about networking, you should know that it’s something that’s absolutely essential for any professional to do. Not only is it essential, but it’s one of the fun parts of your professional life. You get to meet people, learn, and generate ideas together.

Are you curious about why networking is so important? Here are a few good reasons why everyone should try to network.

Climb the Career Ladder

Alt text: Employees attend a networking event in a large meeting room.

Being noticed at important networking events can be just as important as making connections at them. 

When you go to networking events, you build your reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable person. It shows that you’re interested in growing your skillset and are engaged in the local business ecosystem.

When you expand your professional contacts, you open yourself up to learning about potential new opportunities for business. This can be good if you’re planning on finding a new job soon, or if you want to grow your business.

Remember, you may not meet who you want at an event, but when you make connections you open yourself up to each individual’s network. The Personal Connection® you make tonight could lead you to an even better connection in the future. And, it’s not always about quantity. If you find someone whose interests align with yours, invest the time to really get to know them and maybe find a time to meet later on.

Expand Your Knowledge

Making connections can help you grow your own personal skillset.

When you meet someone in the same industry, you can talk about shared professional experiences. You’ll be able to talk about what’s worked for you in certain situations and brainstorm new ways to overcome some of the problems you face.

Networking opportunities can also be a great place to absorb knowledge from heavy hitters in your industry.

Plenty of professional meetup groups hold monthly talks. You can get important tips on building your career or learn important skills. At some point, you may even consider giving a talk and building your professional standing in the community.

Get New Ideas

It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut professionally. You’re so focused on the day to day work that goes along with maintaining a company or doing your own job that you can lose focus on the ultimate goal of growth.

Build a Talent Pool

It’s important to keep in mind that business owners aren’t the only people that need to pull from a network of professionals from time to time. 

You never know when you’re going to need help at work. Whether you need to hire an executive or need to redesign your website, networking can help you find the talent you need.

Why Personal Connections Matter in Networking 

You’re networking for professional reasons, but that doesn’t mean that the relationships you build aren’t authentic. When you make a Personal Connection® in your professional network, you open yourself up to so many more opportunities. 

When professional opportunities arise, the person you connected with is more likely to come to mind as opposed to someone you had a quick exchange with at a networking event.

You also open yourself up to having a fulfilling relationship that can grow into a friendship. Connecting with people in life can be rare enough, so you should view any opportunity as a time to potentially build a relationship.

It’s rare to find a true friend that you can also talk about professional matters with. Imagine having someone you can trust like a friend, and also work with like a business partner.

Build Real Connections with Technology

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of networking and building real connections, it’s time to think about ways for you to make personal connections with people. 

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with people and build connections. Use these tools when you want to build your professional network and create personal connections.

Utilize Social Media 

Social media isn’t just good for posting memes and keeping in touch with family members. When you utilize it correctly, you can easily build your professional network and deepen your established connections. 

LinkedIn has become the de facto social platform for people that want to network. The platform is a great resource for building professional connections, but it’s not the only one out there.

Consider looking for niche platforms that cater to your industry. Designers should consider making an account on Dribbble and programmers should look into building up their presence on Github.

When you utilize social media to build connections, don’t just focus on finding people to follow or friend. Post your own original content and use the right tags so people can find you. 

Once you get to know someone better, consider adding them on other social networks. Do a quick search for their name on other platforms and see how many different ways you can connect with them.

People can behave in different ways based on the platform they’re on. Following someone’s Instagram or Twitter profile can give you insight into their life that LinkedIn never could. 

Write an E-mail 

Alt text: A woman composes an email on her desktop.

When was the last time you wrote someone a friendly e-mail? Sometimes just writing a few sentences can be enough to build a real Personal Connection® with people.

If you really want to improve your chances of making a professional connection, use social media as a way to figure out the best time to check in with a connection over e-mail. 

Did someone recently add a new job to their LinkedIn? Have you noticed them posting about preparing to welcome a new baby to their family, or that they’re excited about an upcoming vacation? 

When you notice important things happening in their lives, don’t be afraid to send them an e-mail. They may appreciate that you’re thinking of them and give you the same courtesy of keeping up on your life.

Make Connections in-Person 

Technology can connect with other people, but you shouldn’t forget about the power of making connections in person. 

The personal touch of in-person interaction can help strengthen your relationship. Here are some tips on creating one-on-one and group interactions to improve your connections. 

Find a Group Event 

If you want to find a way to passively build connections and potentially expand other people’s networks, find a way to meet in a group. 

This can be as easy as sending a link to meetup or conference information to people over social media or an e-mail. You can start a large discussion thread for people you want to connect with. 

Are you having trouble finding an event to bring people to? Make an event of your own! 

Grab a table at a coffee shop and make a monthly get together for people to chat. This can allow you to curate the guest list and invite people you think would mesh well together. 

Connect on a One-on-One Level

Alt text: Two employees have a short get-together after work.

If you feel that you do better when you can focus on one person, don’t be afraid to send an invitation to a one-on-one gathering. 

Offer to grab a drink after work for an impromptu happy hour, or schedule some time to have coffee in the morning. You don’t have to make these events long, sometimes just having an hour to talk can be enough.

Finding time during the workday may be the easiest way to meet up with someone. Offer to choose a location close to their work to make it easier for them to agree to a time.

Find New Ways to Connect

Building real connections can be the best way for you to make a professional network that can help you grow. Whether you do outreach with technology or try to meet people in person, you can’t deny the power of having a strong network. 

Do you want to learn about other strategies that can help you grow your business or personal brand? Are you curious about ways the people around you can create new social connections?

If you are, Personal Connection® 101 can help improve your social connections inside and outside of work. With lessons on communication during the digital age and how to create successful small talk, you’ll be able to engage with your colleagues, friends, and family in authentic ways.

Related: Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

Man looking out of window

Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic

Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic 1350 900 VP Legacies

From Internet memes to local news reports, the phrase “social distancing” has taken center stage following the government’s recent measures to address the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines instructing that “for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States” and that “events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”

In response to the outbreak, the NBA has halted its 2020 season, popular events such as Austin’s SXSW Festival have been canceled or postponed, and a number of large workforces, such as Twitter, have mandated that their employees work from home. But social distancing seems to have developed beyond just avoiding large group gatherings and coworkers at the office. In an effort to avoid COVID-19 infection and prevent viral spread, many find themselves secluded at home without the support of social interaction. Here at VP Legacies, we help you find methods of meaningful connection while staying safe at home.

What Is Social Distancing?

The CDC defines social distance as the act of “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.” The CDC doesn’t strictly define “congregating” but has offered some examples of congregate settings: educational institutions, workplaces, mass gatherings, and detention facilities..”

The University of Chicago Emergency Management Program calls social distancing “a public health safety intervention used to reduce the likelihood of transmitting communicable disease.” And Harvard Medical School’s Coronavirus Resource Center categorized social distancing as a step taken to mitigate the impact of the illness: “social distancing…refers to actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. For an individual, it refers to maintaining enough distance between yourself and another person to reduce the risk of breathing in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In a community, social distancing measures may include limiting or cancelling large gatherings of people.”

Woman wearing surgical mask

Though definitions of social distancing differ slightly across various outlets, the general idea is the same. In the face of a global pandemic, humans are called upon to limit the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining distance from other people and avoiding large gatherings. Work from home practices, online conferences, and meetings are our new reality for the indefinite future.

Related: How To Personally Connect In the Midst of A Global Pandemic.

Why Social Distancing?

Why, many ask, must we practice social distancing at a time when connection and community might matter more than ever? The World Health Organization offers a straightforward answer to why we need to maintain a distance from people around us: “When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.” In the case of a communicable disease, one that is easily transferred from one person to another, health experts stress that social distancing can limit the exposure of bacteria and infectious disease to the rest of the community. 

 Flatten the curve infographSource: CDC

In exploring the necessity of social distancing, another catchphrase has emerged: “flattening the curve.” From an epidemiological standpoint, flattening the curve means taking actions that slow the spread of a viral infection so that the rate of cases and health effects on a population is spread out over time, thereby reducing the impact and demands on the healthcare system and other related industries. Social distancing is one means of flattening the curve, as well as “shelter in place” orders that local governments have enacted to slow the rate of infection.

Social distancing can protect vulnerable groups from infection as well. Studies on the first 17 deaths resulting from COVID-19 infection in China showed that the median age of those patients was 75 years old. Immunologists have also communicated that individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and cardiopulmonary disorder, may be more susceptible to any illness, including COVID-19. As we learn more about the effects of the virus on the world’s population at large, social distancing has become an act of respect, care, and protection to the people around us, especially high risk groups such as the elderly or immunodeficient. 

Who recommends social distancing?

Federal agencies, including the White House, CDC, U.S. Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security as well as state government agencies are recommending social distancing to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection.             

Beyond a national level, the World Health Organization as well as experts across the globe have studied and are encouraging social distancing during the pandemic outbreak. From mathematicians to specialists in infrastructure and behavioral design to public health officials, social distancing has been touted as an effective means of containing the viral spread. 

How can social distancing protect you?

Social distancing is a virus containment method that can substantially reduce attack rates and protect you and your community from widespread infection. The outbreak has already put a strain on the nation’s economic resources and healthcare facilities. Active measures to participate in social distance will help not only the economy and healthcare industry, but bring business and resources flowing back into the communities once COVID-19 is contained.

Related: Stay protected and connected all at once with VP Legacies.

How has social distancing worked in the past?

The chart below compares the death rate in two different cities during the 1918 pandemic that wiped out one-third of the world’s population (that’s an estimated 500 million people) within a year of the outbreak.

Chart comparing death rates in St. Louis and Philadelphia in 1918Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences            

 During the outbreak of the 1918 pandemic, also known as the “Spanish flu,” local governments varied drastically in their methods of containing the outbreak. The city of Philadelphia experienced cases of influenza as early as September 17, 1918 but downplayed the gravity of the situation and did not take measures to enforce non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as social distancing, school closures, and shelter in place ordinances) until October 3, 1918. Philadelphia even proceeded with a city-wide parade on September 28, 1918, of which almost 200,000 people attended.                       

 As a result, by the time social distancing, cancellations of mass gatherings, and school closures were enacted on October 3, 1918 in Philadelphia, the city’s healthcare and public health resources were already overburdened by a surfeit of flu cases that amounted to 217 deaths out of 100,000 people per week.       

Compare this to the city of St. Louis, where first instances of the flu arose on October 5, 1918. The city responded quickly and by October 7, 1918, authorities had put into place social distancing measures designed to combat viral spread.At this time, people did not have the luxury of having the online resources to help them battle the struggles of Social Distancing. 

 Luckily, the fast response paid off: the city of St. Louis’s peak death rate was only 31 deaths out of 100,000 people per week. Philadelphia’s weekly rate of death was seven times that of St. Louis. Health experts studying this data concluded that aggressive social distancing measures implemented as early as possible following the outbreak were “significantly associated with a lower rate of mortality.”

How to Practice Social Distancing

The CDC, World Health Organization, and various health experts have been forthcoming with advice on how to practice social distancing. Some general advice for individuals, families, and businesses are:

  • Distancing yourself from others if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus
  • Isolation and quarantine of those that are already ill
  • Avoid coming in contact with those who may have been exposed to the virus
  • Cancel sporting events and other events of 10 people or more 
  • Stay home if you’re sick, except to seek medical care
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and large social gatherings of 10 people or more
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds according to proper hygiene standards after touching frequently used items or coming into contact with someone who is sick
  • If working in proximity to others, attempt to keep a distance of approximately six feet from the nearest person during work

Social distancing may even apply to contact with a family’s beloved pet. Harvard Medical School advises the following when it comes to our four-legged pals: “There have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, but the CDC still recommends that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.”     

Find out ways to stay personally connected with friends and colleagues even while practicing social distance. Check out VP Legacies’ course here.

Hand washing

Potential Emotional Effects of Social Distancing

Knowing social distancing helps to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection is one thing, but how do we as a society adjust to limited social interaction? There is no question that along with a pandemic of global proportions, fear and anxiety is mounting on an international level. What becomes of us as we distance ourselves in the name of virus containment while navigating an entirely new landscape of solitude, quarantine, and incessant handwashing?

Loneliness

Studies show that loneliness and isolation are serious health risks that especially affect older adults. As older adults are already at higher risk of infection, the effects of social distance upon this population are worrying. But it’s not only older folks who might suffer from social distancing. Cigna reported loneliness as an epidemic as early as 2018, before COVID-19 took root, noting that nearly half of 200,000 adults experience loneliness and the youngest adults in the group were the loneliest of all. 

Various medical studies show that both women and men who are socially isolated had double the mortality rate compared to those who were more socially integrated. More immediately, loneliness can lead to depressive symptoms, impaired immunity, higher rates of need for emergency medical treatment, and impaired optimization of positive emotions. 

Loss of energy

Though staying home all day sounds like a restful experience, an extended lack of social integration can actually lead to an overall loss of energy. Lack of social interaction has been found to cause fatigue, lowered quality of sleep, and increased cortisol responses upon awakening, which can lead to starting the day with a high level of stress. This can cause a person working from home to crash and burn a lot quicker than one who is working amongst social peers.

Reduced productivity

Loss of energy and loneliness leading to depression and a lowered immune system can likely contribute to reduced productivity, whether at a job or on personal projects at home. Whether a loss of friendly support causes illness, depressive symptoms, or general fatigue, these are all factors that inhibit a healthy level of productivity. Supporting medical studies show that “even minor levels of depression symptoms were associated with decrements in work function.”

How to Personally Connect in a World of Social Distancing

In light of distressing pandemic news flooding media outlets and people waiting out the storm alone at home, how can we battle loneliness, loss of energy, and lowered productivity? The good news is, unlike those who suffered from the 1918 pandemic, we have technology to stay connected during this challenging period. If you’re already battling bouts of loneliness, learn more about VP Legacies’ course, How To Personally Connect In the Midst of a Global Pandemic, here.

Woman talking on phone

Stay in touch over the phone

Smartphone technology is something we can take advantage of when feeling isolated or lonely. With the help of 4G connectivity and apps like Whatsapp and WeChat, isolated people across the world can stay connected and check on each other’s well being with the touch of a button. Facetime calls and group text chats are all helpful in maintaining a sense of community during social distancing.

Send check-in emails

The ease of sending e-mails is another means of communicating regularly with loved ones. Regular check-ins with friends and relatives can provide a meaningful connection that is sorely needed during this lonely time. 

Join Online Classes or Take a Virtual Course

Isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to learn but “never had the time?” Well, the time is now. Drawing, singing, and music lessons are available online and a creative outlet can help you express and release what you’re feeling now. Master classes for many subjects are popular as well, including scriptwriting and cooking. Many yoga and other fitness programs can be accessed remotely and are designed for you to do at home. Or take an online course to ramp up your skills at work. VP Legacies’ Elearning courses help you develop your personal and professional connection skills while connecting with caring instructors and classmates.

Share Your Expression

Did you create something beautiful during all those hours spent at home? Got a song to sing, a poem to read aloud, or a meditation practice that can help others? What about that article or video you’ve been wanting to post online? Here’s your time to shine. The world could really use your voice now that we’re in dire need of stimulation and inspiration. 

Hold training sessions and meetings online

Meaningful connections with work colleagues and business partners can also help you maintain a sense of purpose and productivity rather than languishing alone at home. For a culture that spends five out of seven days at work, many are left wondering “what happens if I don’t go to work?” Meeting and learning online may be a solution for those that find themselves worrying about how to spend their time while socially distancing themselves from the workplace. For more ways to connect meaningfully online, check out VP Legacies’ communication capabilities here.

Conclusion

Woman working on laptop from home

Without a doubt, we live in uncertain times right now. As researchers and medical professionals rush to help the sick and seek effective solutions to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, we can do our part by participating in social distancing to flatten the curve. 

But to care for ourselves and each other, we must find ways to connect and communicate with loved ones. For those who find themselves in solitude, it can be helpful to learn ways to establish connections online. To ensure those connections are resonant and meaningful, check out VP Legacies’ course on Personal Connection 101

Whether through phone calls, e-mails, or other forms of online communication, we owe it to ourselves to stay connected. Our health and well-being depend on it. 

What is Emotionally Intelligent Leadership?

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The ability to lead an organization effectively involves a myriad of finely-tuned skills. One key aspect of effective leadership is having a high degree of emotional intelligence. 

This is what we’ve come to know as emotionally intelligent leadership. Emotionally intelligent leadership can help motivate a workforce through Personal Connection®, keeping them engaged, and reducing turnover. 

A leader who is technically excellent at their job is nothing without their employees. A big part of an executive employee’s day is keeping a team performing at their best. This is why emotional intelligence is necessary. At VP Legacies, our eLearning courses help your team and top leadership thrive by developing pathways for Personal Connection®. Here’s our guide to emotionally intelligent leadership.

Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees are Your Company’s Most Valuable Assets

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Naturally, an emotionally intelligent leader is one who can understand verbal and nonverbal cues about how a person is feeling. Emotional intelligence can be defined as how well one has a grasp over their own emotions and can recognize emotions in others. These are leaders who are able to factor in both the logical side and emotional side of making decisions.

Emotionally intelligent leaders can apply this same perspective when evaluating the actions and decisions of their team or colleagues. EQ, as it’s commonly abbreviated, is now incredibly important in evaluating leaders and plays an important part in how successful one is in their career. 

Find a course that meets your company’s goals at VP Legacies.

Let’s take a look at the key factors that make up emotional intelligence in leadership:

Self-awareness

a Man gives a speech to his co-workers at lunch

Self-awareness is one’s ability to know how they feel clearly. It’s a muscle that needs to be strengthened over time, involving deep introspection on how one feels and how one reacts to those feelings. 

An acute idea of the emotions one feels is critical in leadership positions. It helps determine how a leader reacts in certain situations and how much their decision making relies on logic over feelings. 

Self-awareness also translates into having a better understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses and being able to work on the latter. A self-aware leader can form stronger personal connections with employees because they admit that, just like anyone else, they’re not perfect.

Self-regulation

If being self-aware means one has a good idea of how they feel, self-regulation means how they regulate their actions with this knowledge. It’s about how much control one has over themselves. 

As a leader, there’s going to be many times where pressure and stress are high, and self-regulation helps prevent impulsive reactions in such moments. Self-regulation is also about making short-term vs. long-term calls when in a leadership position. Shorter term wins that may be more rewarding must be sacrificed for longer-term gains, and the opposite can also hold true in some scenarios. Self-regulation helps leaders make the right call and communicate next steps in an emotionally intuitive way.

All of this means one needs to have a sound idea of their innate values and principles – something self-awareness can help provide. Self-regulation is then being able to control one’s ability to act to stimuli. 

Related: 6 Tips for Having a Tough Conversation With Your Boss

Motivation

Self-motivation is critical for success and is a key indicator of how well someone does in their career. Self-motivation means one has the ability to set goals, and then work towards achieving those goals independently. 

This can include long-term goals or even the ability to tackle daily tasks. And a natural ability to self-motivate translates into one’s ability to personally connect with others, motivating and inspiring them to ignite their ability to carry out actions. 

Motivation involves a strong degree of EQ, as leaders need to understand what innately motivates their team and how best to communicate in order to inspire them. 

Empathy

Empathy is all about being able to put oneself in someone else’s shoes. It’s being able to look at scenarios from someone else’s perspective and factor this into how decisions or judgments are made. 

Being empathetic is one of the strongest indicators of a leader with high EQ, as they can quickly ascertain why employees behave the way they do and what needs to change in order to foster engagement. 

You can create employee satisfaction and foster productivity solely from being able to understand what intrinsically and extrinsically motivates them. Empathy doesn’t exist in a silo, though and involves the ability to communicate effectively. 

Strong communication is needed in order to better understand someone else’s situation, and communicate to them effectively on the next steps. 

Related: How internal communication strategies boost employee engagement 

Communication

A leader communicates with her team about an issue

Finally the underlying foundation of a high EQ is the ability to communicate effectively. Smooth internal communication within the workplace is the final touch that brings together self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy.

A leader that can’t communicate effectively won’t get very far with their company’s bottom line. The ability to tailor your thoughts into effective messaging that best resonates with your audience is a valuable one, since it can increase employee retention and also strengthen your company’s goals.. 

A leader can be empathetic, self-aware, and highly self-regulated – but it won’t mean much if these can’t be communicated to his colleagues. Communication is paramount in ensuring discussions are productive, conflicts can be resolved, and a workforce can remain engaged and motivated. 

When we define communication, this involves both the ability to listen well and ask the right questions or make the right statements. 

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover

Cultivating Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Emotionally intelligent leadership isn’t cultivated overnight and requires a dedicated amount of effort and training in order to become good at it as a leader. A recent study showed 71% of employers look for high EQ when it comes to hiring leaders, demonstrating that companies are now valuing it as much as IQ. 

By focusing on the above five areas, one can start to develop tactics on how to strengthen each area, and become an emotionally intelligent leader. You can start building an emotionally intelligent workplace with the help of VP Legacies. Our Personal Connection® 101 course and other customized modules shows you ways to infuse your leadership style with empathy and self-knowledge to help motivate your employees.

Learn more about emotional intelligence with Personal Connection® 101.

Employee's talking at a desk with laptop

Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

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Empathy is your ability to understand someone else’s perspective by putting yourself in their shoes. In other words, it means you try to understand how someone thinks and feels without necessarily having had the same experience. As a result, you become more compassionate and understanding. 

When it comes to the workplace, empathy holds the potential to energize your employees with real connections across the board. The ability to put yourself in your coworkers’ and employees’ shoes means you can better take into consideration their point of view and any concerns they have. You can use these perspectives to create meaningful change. At VP Legacies, we value Personal Connection® as a way to satisfy your employees and increase employee retention. Here’s how you can use empathy to improve your workplace culture.

Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees are Your Company’s Most Valuable Assets

Empathy Affects Work Culture 

Studies about empathy have shown that a more empathetic workforce results in better employee retention, communication, culture, quality of work-life, and productivity. The main reason for this is that empathy helps to promote the following in a workplace culture:

  • Employees feel able to openly communicate – not just when they’re successful, but when they face challenges. Empathy improves internal communication by reassuring employees that their colleagues will do their best to understand them and help them through challenges rather than placing blame.
  • Your company leadership understands employee performance in greater detail. Being able to empathize with employees will allow you to use emotional intelligence to have a sense of their needs. For instance, a lack of employee engagement may indicate a need to create a custom eLearning plan for more professional development opportunities.
  • In any task-based situation, it’s easier to process ideas and address problems put forth by fellow employees if you act with empathy. It fosters better internal communication by helping you know the right questions to ask. As a result,  you’ll communicate responses with effective word choice, tone, and content based on the other person’s perspective. 

Learn more about empathy in the workplace with Personal Connection® 101, VP Legacies’ eLearning course for businesses. 

Challenges

Two businesswomen discuss communication challenges in the workplace

Given the potentially productive aspects of empathy, the fact of the matter is that empathy in the workplace is often still lacking. A lot of that has to do with the innate challenges involved in cultivating the skill of empathy. Acting with empathy can be a challenge for the following reasons.

  • Self-awareness and understanding are lifelong skills that need to be strengthened over time. Doing this when it comes to someone else is even more challenging. We’re often focused on the tasks that we need to complete, preventing us from connecting with those around us. Being aware of the way we inhabit space allows us to connect better.
  • Vulnerability is key to empathy, it involves putting someone else’s wants and needs above oneself. This means you need to be truly committed to helping your colleagues, and that often takes some emotional labor. In the workplace context where we often behave in a way to remind others of our authority, we may actually be intimidating others and putting up barriers. 
  • Workplaces are built on putting the ‘business’ and company values first. To some, empathy looks like sacrificing business for employee satisfaction. In reality, the two are inextricably intertwined. After all, you need your employees to reach your bottom line, and their happiness should be a priority.

It takes some effort to be an authentically empathetic leader, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Your hard work will show employees that you’re willing to reciprocate their best efforts.

Some Ways Empathy Helps the Workplace

Active listening

Workplaces commonly involve what’s known as passive listening, and many workplace surveys indicate roughly 30% of employees feel that their opinions don’t matter. 

This is where better communication in the form of active listening can help. It’s challenging, but this means ensuring that:

  • You acknowledge colleagues when they are communicating, either by nodding or giving verbal indication. Sometimes, it helps to repeat or rephrase what they say just to make sure you understand fully.
  • Asking clarifying questions and leaving back and forths open-ended. A common practice of doing this is by always responding with ‘Yes, and…’ that allows the conversation to continue.
  • Keeping the environment distraction-free during a discussion. This involves having laptop screens closed, and mobiles put away. 

In addition to all of this, it is ensuring one’s accessible and available for colleagues to reach out and talk to you.

Related: How internal communication strategies boost employee engagement 

Ask specific questions

A man in a black blazer speaks at a project management conference

Beyond active listening, it’s also important to get better at asking the right questions to promote a culture of empathy. The key here is asking questions that deep-dive and get to the core of an issue or discussion. By doing this, you’re better able to understand the other person’s perspective. 

Examples of deep-dive questioning are introducing specificity and focusing on key details. Follow up with questions that uncover the who, what, when, where, and most important, the ‘why’. 

Avoid any ‘one-size-fits’ all questions, that are far too open-ended and such as ‘Okay, what’s the issue?’ but try to triangulate a specific area to better understand when asking a question. 

Promote assurance and an open mind

Creating a culture that promotes acknowledgment and assurance is also key in helping build up empathy in the workplace. What this means is to approach coworkers with an open mind and acknowledge that what they have done or will do is in one’s own and company’s best interest. 

When issues arise in the workplace, it’s common to make judgments based on one’s own experiences. Promoting an empathetic workplace means that one makes an effort to realize that a workplace consists of a wide range of roles and teams, and effective internal communication should incorporate multiple perspectives. 

Each department and each employee faces their own struggles. Without being in their shoes, it’s hard to fully understand the reasons behind what’s going on. 

Statements of assurance and acknowledgment can be powerful here, so a good practice when a workplace issue arises is to communicate with a preface of “I hear what you’re saying” or “I understand your frustration” before diving in. 

This lets the other person know that you have tried to empathize and keep their perspective in mind. 

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover

Be more open with colleagues

Two men in a coffee shop laugh together

One of the main factors to a great culture at work is when employees genuinely love to spend time with each other. This means you need to foster deep Personal Connection®, and empathy helps a lot here. 

By not keeping your coworkers an arm’s length away and being more open with them about yourself, your experiences, and your challenges can foster Personal Connection® and strengthen professional bonds. 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Developing the ability to empathize with colleagues doesn’t happen overnight. Empathy involves mastering a lot of pieces such as the ability to be more introspective, ask better questions, and listen more actively, and much more. 

It’s important to start slowly and focus on one of these areas. Generally, becoming a more effective communicator at work is the best first step towards mastering empathy. 

And don’t let any setbacks deter progress. It’s a challenging endeavor but once mastered can mean a more productive and fulfilling work environment. 

Help Employees Feel Heard

An empathetic workplace means more compassion and percolates through the office. Colleagues are more cordial and understanding of one another, and this means resolving issues quickly while fostering teamwork. Empathy reminds your employees that you care about their emotional wellbeing. With this knowledge, they’ll feel comfortable coming to you to share challenges and successes.

If you want to get started creating an empathetic workplace, our Personal Connection® 101 course is a great start. You’ll learn how to connect meaningfully with employees in real life and with online platforms, creating a workplace culture that values connectivity.

Find a course that meets your company’s goals at VP Legacies.

How Microlearning Increases Personal Connection

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According to a study in Time, the average human attention span is currently around 8 seconds. This value is slated to fall even further, thanks to screens that never turn off and increased caffeine intake, among other factors. Reading books is now an almost archaic habit – with audiobooks taking the center stage of written content consumption. 

The trend also signifies a large decline in the learning capacity of the human brain. Content creators and educators are faced with the issue of connecting to learners and efficiently capturing and retaining their attention. The bigger problem, however, is that learners tend to forget the dissipated information. Retention of knowledge is a hard challenge to overcome, but one that is crucial to ensure the progression of eLearning. At VP Legacies, we know the value of personal connection for keeping your employees happy and engaged with your company. Here’s how microlearning can help.

Related: eLearning vs. Microlearning: What Are the Differences?

What is Microlearning? 

The eLlearning sphere is currently dominated by microlearning, an education innovation that is here to stay. Microlearning is a type of focused training/learning method that doles out short bursts of specific content. The content is typically delivered in the form of small eLearning units, short-term activities, and easily digestible, object-oriented media. The units are designed to help users/ learners grasp and remember vast topics in tiny chunks. The lessons are dealt out in 5 – to 10-minute modules and focus on building specific on-the-job skills at the user’s convenience. 

The core principle behind microlearning is the efficient consumption of skill-based eLearning material without overburdening the user. Instead of providing the learner with a bulk of eearning material, and overwhelming them in the process, microlearning concentrates on micro-perspectives and practical contexts. Microlearning is in great demand across corporate settings and other mediated environments. Workplace training modules like software platform initiations and workflow processes can be easily administered through microlearning – and with proven success. 

Training content can take many forms and is usually designed to suit a company’s work style. Typical microlearning content includes interactive media forms like short videos, powerful images/ illustrations, infographics, eBooks, other on-screen text, audio snippets, music tracks, single-screen games and quizzes, simple activities, and multiple-choice tests. The content is highly personalized and target aptitude and application-based facets of the skill in question. 

Advantages of Microlearning 

Engagement 

The goal of microlearning is to communicate the outcome in the simplest way possible. eLearning methods that are off the beaten path tend to stay in the memory for longer periods, while also creating sufficient engagement from the learner. Modern corporate workers are strapped for time and microlearning is the perfect way to create interest in training modules. 

When learners study in short bursts over being forced to sit through hours of droning material, their brains engage with the content easily. This interest also carries forward to future training modules. The best-designed microlearning modules simulate the rewarding emotion of checking social media/ game apps on one’s cell phone, as opposed to prepping for an exam. As a result, you create engagement by connecting with learners on a more personal level.

Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness 

Streamlined content means less production time and cost. As the content delivered in micro eLearning is trimmed to the fullest extent, writers and developers can produce hundreds of modules in hours. This isn’t just efficient, it also allows the training material to constantly evolve to match changing trends and training requirements. 

Since microlearning does not always require special premium tools, it cuts costs down further. Efficiency in production is one benefit, but efficiency in consumption is yet another. Users can even undergo microlearning on their smartphones on their commute to and from work. The variety offered by microlearning modalities allows workers to absorb, retain, and apply knowledge much more effectively and efficiently. 

Flexibility

Flexibility and personalization is a huge part of microlearning. Learner motivation and interest in finishing more modules naturally stem from the autonomy and modality offered by microlearning. Bulky online courses are not ideal for learners on the go. Microlearning courses are small in size, and can even be downloaded and used when the user is offline. 

These courses also allow trainers a certain amount of flexibility in terms of usage. Microlearning modules can be used as components of larger, organization-wide training drives or as performance support. Depending on the company’s workflow, these courses can also be used as communication tools. 

Personal Connection

Authentic personal connections within the workplace are crucial for training purposes, as well as maintaining an overall healthy work environment. On the surface, microlearning may appear to disconnect or disassociate workers from one another. Employees glued to their screens while finishing modules might not be the best communication instigator. However, continued implementation of microlearning modules can prove to be beneficial when it comes to personal connections. It gives employees talking points and, unlike longer training modules, allows them to stay in touch with methods of internal communication while completing microlearning lessons.

Microlearning modules are designed with specific criteria in mind. When the gamut of multimedia material hits the training floors, employees are more engaged and reach out to each other in order to learn more. Natural curiosity, coupled with a positive ‘let’s go get it’ attitude (stemming from micro-assessments and quizzes) can boost team performance by bounds and leaps. 

Collaborative modules can also serve to increase effective and productive communication among employees. Certain microlearning activities designed for teams can also increase levels of trust and codependency. When a group of colleagues watches a bunch of short videos together, they are more likely to have in-depth conversations about the topics involved. 

High-quality microlearning content incorporates elements of relevant pop culture media to increase engagement. GIFs, well-produced short videos with comedic relief, and eye-catching infographics aren’t just boosting engagement and retention. They also serve the important purpose of binding the mutual interests of workers and bringing them together on a common basis – a shared interest in learning. As communication tools, microlearning modules can also be used as ice-breakers. 

Related: 10 Best eLearning Tools Online

Disadvantages of Microlearning 

In-Depth Training 

For subjects that require in-depth training and exploration, microlearning might not be the best fit. Some software or processes require several months of training just to grasp the basics. The trade-off between short, interactive modules versus lengthy, in-depth write-ups cannot be justified, especially if employees are falling short of the mark. 

For example, take the American Revolution. It’s possible to learn the timeline of events, the causes, and the outcomes of the revolution using microlearning tactics like short videos and images. However, in order to understand the underlying intricacies, motives, political underpinnings, and cultural impacts, microlearning is not quite the right option. 

Nevertheless, microlearning can be a great companion tool for in-depth training methods. Microlearning can help reinforce what employees learn in other training modules. They can also target more hands-on skills that will help employees put more abstract ideas into practice.

Complex Concepts 

Bite-sized courses are the best option for a surface level understanding of most concepts. But this mode of eLearning cannot always ensure to translate the complexity of all topics in an effective manner. Microlearning isn’t always suited for subjects that require a lot of patience and content that cannot be boiled down to cue cards. 

Sometimes it’s necessary for the workers to plow through large bodies of well-researched material in order to gain a better understanding of the concept. Extensive comprehension is not always the same as immediate understanding and retention. For example, it’s possible to learn Mandarin for a trip to China using audio snippets and images. 

This would provide the required outcome, where the employees can communicate effectively in a corporate setting with a few key catchphrases. However, if an employee is to be permanently reassigned to China, they will have to study the language in great detail in order to get by. Microlearning can’t help here, tedious study and preparation will. 

Once again, micro-learning can be a great reinforcing tool for longer training methods. To use the example above, textbooks and long lesson plans aren’t enough to learn a language. Short quizzes and other microlearning tools help people practice what they’ve learned as they go along.

Microlearning Strategies and Guidelines

Organizations have to keep in mind certain factors before implementing a brand new microlearning module. The first and foremost factor is to keep the audiences in mind while crafting content. While some users thrive off the streamlined model, others might not take to it so quickly. Identify what kind of groups are present within the organization and design modules accordingly. Analyze previous eLearning efforts in-depth and understand how it was assimilated, and what strategy was most effective. 

Several employees and even executives might not be aware of what microlearning is exactly. It’s important to run a company-wide awareness program beforehand to build a strong business case. Whether the microlearning modules are a viable strategy is an important decision to make. Involve peers, key stakeholders, and management in the process. 

Many times, microlearning could prove to be a huge shift in the existing method of learning (specifically eLearning) within an organization and requires a fundamental change of mindset. Assess the existing content and find ways to leverage available expertise. Don’t throw old playbooks out the window completely. It’s important to ease into the process by merging characteristics of both traditional and modern strategies. 

Always design modules with ease-of-access, internal communication best practices, and deployment strategies in mind. 

How Gradual Microlearning Creates Engaged Communication

Microlearning achieves efficiency, versatility, and personal connection by allowing employees to incorporate and implement new skills as they learn them. As a result, this training strategy improves knowledge retention and helps employees feel engaged with your company while learning valuable skills for their professional career. 

Not only is microlearning efficient, but the short time span of each module means that it can easily be incorporated into your ongoing learning plan. It’s easy to implement and engaging for employees, giving them the opportunity to ask questions as they complete new modules over time and converse with each other about shared courses. It can even be used to drive home complex concepts and give employees the chance to practice and discuss specific skills that are part of a broader learning plan.Get started with microlearning by finding out more about VP Legacies.

Ready to help your employees grow professionally? Check out Custom eLearning Development with VP Legacies.

“The Art of Personal Connection” – CEO Presentation at the 2017 SIM Colorado Women Summer Conference Presentation

“The Art of Personal Connection” – CEO Presentation at the 2017 SIM Colorado Women Summer Conference Presentation 1194 720 VP Legacies

The art of personal connection may seem lost, but as humans, we have the innate want and ability to build relationships. Some may say that life is relationships. We say, “Life is personal connection.” We say, “Personal connection” is life. Therefore, here at VP Legacies we are creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

Hector Simoudis’s Message

On August 25th, 2017 we were given a great privilege to share stories and insight at the Society of Information Management Colorado Women Summer Conference. Our CEO, Hector Simoudis, shared stories about growing up in the Middle East and fighting against what people were saying about his dyslexia holding him back. His world experience from traveling to 25+ countries, extreme determination and work ethic have made him who he is today—a storyteller with a message to the world that believing in yourself inspires personal connection.

It’s this belief that led to the creation of Personal Connection 101, our interactive video course that holds the secret formula for connecting with others in every facet of your life. Being present when communicating is a way to overcome loneliness and create opportunities for productive collaboration.

Why Personal Connection?

Hector’s presentation is founded on the belief that the art of personal connection is as simple as building trust, sharing your story and embracing emotion. If you do these three things the art of personal connection is simple. The problem is, as Hector put it, human interaction is like an iceberg, we hardly ever go below the service with others. Therefore, we completely close ourselves off to personal connection.

The audience was fascinated by the simplicity of truth in Hector’s presentation. It really hit home when Hector gave them time to share a funny story with one another. At this point everyone began to realize that details really do matter. While facts and figures support our personal connection belief, the release of Oxytocin in the moment allowed everyone to feel it.

He ended his future Tedx Talk (we are submitting his talk soon) briefly speaking about the Platia industry (stay tuned for another blog post about that) and explaining that we are in the midst of a personal connection crisis. The solution is simple. People Matter. 
Related: What is eLearning and How is it Changing the World?

What is the personal connection crisis?

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Even in a world governed by technology as an extension of our day to day lives, personal connection is a necessity that we all need. Societal pressures have created an illusion that technology (specifically smart phones and other computers) can provide us with everything we need. This is where the crisis begins. At VP Legacies, we’re committed to forging pathways for personal connections that are compatible with the digital age.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

Why Is There a Connection Crisis?

Alt text: A woman sits in bed, eyes glued to her computer.

People feel empty. We don’t know why we aren’t happy even though we have everything we need. We can watch whatever TV show we want without waiting. If we want to buy something we don’t even need to go to the store, hope it isn’t sold out, and pray there isn’t a line. If we want a date or something to do this weekend, we can swipe right or look through social media for an event. This sense of detachment translates to corporate culture, too. It’s all too easy to stay plugged into our devices and never talk to someone face-to-face.

Nonetheless, we have started to realize that there is something missing. Some of us have even put a name to it – personal connection.

Related: What is the Best Strategy for CEO Communication?

The Solution

So what do we do? We try and interact with more people by trying out other more genuine dating applications. Our employers even buy us bean bags, install kegs and give us unlimited yoga memberships. People still aren’t happy.

So where do we go from here? Humanity is in the middle of an identity crisis. We know what we need, but have no idea how to get it. There isn’t an app for personal connection (well not yet – we are working on one). You can’t order it with two-day shipping. No, there isn’t a Netflix series you can binge through to learn the secret behind it. Now what do we do?

Well, first we have to admit to ourselves that a crisis exists and we have no idea what to do. Once we do that the solution is very simple – communication and storytelling. We can consult you on your story to help you figure out where to start.

Our Approach to Personal Connection

Alt Text: Employees bond in a collaborative workplace.

While they may seem to be, personal connection and technology are not adversaries. It’s true that technology can encourage isolation, technology can actually be used to enhance and enrich personal connections. Our courses, like Personal Connection® 101: The Iceberg of Personal Connection®, use web-based microlearning to help you learn about strategies for connecting with people in real life. 

Whether it’s having a five-minute conversation with a stranger in real life or an effective phone call with a friend or colleague, we have you covered. Our modules inspire you to face the personal connection crisis with one of its root causes – technology. You’ll learn that it can be your best friend when it comes to connecting with fellow employees, friends, and family members.
Related: 10 Best eLearning Tools Online

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

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When it comes to your company’s most valuable asset, a lot of areas come to mind. Research and Development, marketing, or even a patent might take the top spot. But that’s not even close to your company’s most valuable asset. The answer is the tens, hundreds, or thousands of employees that make up the workforce of your company. In the 20th century, companies considered production equipment to be its most valuable asset.

However, today, it’s considered to be the knowledge of its employees and their productivity. All intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, intellectual property, brands, trademarks, and R&D are created by people. Therefore, people matter most to you and your business. They are the most essential contributors toward profits and shareholder value. That said, people are key assets for any organization. In today’s continuously changing business world, it is human assets, not the fixed or tangible assets that differentiate an organization from its competitors. The knowledge economy distinguishes one organization from another.

How people benefit your business

Employees champion your business and determine the success or failure of it. The work they do determines what customers and partners see, so it’s important for you to treat your employees with the value they bring. Employees leading an organization might be able to be replaced physically, but their skillsets and knowledge can’t be. This is because each person hired brings a different set of skills to the table even though the job yields the same set of skills.

Besides, the skillset of employees accounts for 85 percent of a company’s assets. Therefore, employee efficiency and talent determines the pace and growth of an organization. Organizations need to recognize the value their employees have and praise them accordingly. This includes their knowledge, expertise, abilities, skillsets, and experience. These are all invaluable and intangible assets for securing a future for the company. So when employees feel valued, they will gladly compete in the race and beat the competition.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Reasons employees are considered invaluable assets

1. Essential to providing goods or services.

Improving employee efficiency and performance are major priorities for an organization. Employees produce the final product, take care of finances, promote your business, and maintain the records for decision making.

2. Employees are the first customer of any organization.

If the organization does not have happy and satisfied employees, they will not deliver performance-oriented results. Therefore reducing the profits of the organization.

3. Employees give their 100 percent to any organization.

No matter what size the business is, success is the result of continuous hard and smart efforts put in by happy and valued employees. This results in keeping the organization going, competing with its competitors and elevating ahead of them all.

4. Employees are the face of an organization.

It’s the satisfaction level of your employees that matters the most. So, if an employee isn’t happy, she might spread a negative word about the organization, even after leaving it. What’s more, is that an unhappy employee will lack motivation and will not perform well, leading to unsatisfactory performance. This results in unachievable performance targets, low profits, and employee churn.

5. They are the nurturers of the organization.

Employees are the ones who give their heart and soul to an organization. Similar to how parents raise their children, employees nurture their organization with their values and endless efforts to take it to the top.

6. Skilled people with knowledge.

The most irreplaceable factors employees bring to the table are their skillsets. Their skills include training and development programs, experience in a specific field, and an understanding of companies’ cultures, systems, and work procedures.

7. Employees are the base of a strong and long-running organization.

Employees run the organization, no matter what level. This means their strength, commitment and dedication, and their emotional connection with the organization can’t be judged as assets in monetary value.

8. Motivated employees make a significant difference.

Employees reach new targets, meet customers’ demands and needs, develop new and innovative products, and perform enormous and huge efforts to achieve the company’s objectives.

9. Employees are major contributors to profits and worth of the organization.

It goes without saying, but employees can’t be given a monetary value for the effort they put in to help the business earn profits. This results in excellent customer reviews and creating brand loyalty from customers. Therefore, employees are the most valuable assets an organization has. It’s their abilities, knowledge, and experience that can’t be replaced. So, going forward, organizations need to place emphasis and importance on the contribution that employees that they have in order to propel themselves ahead.

Top Tips for Having a Tough Conversation with Your Boss

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Just like managers need to have tough conversations with their employees, employees need to have tough conversations with their bosses. Whether it’s a raise, a promotion, or an office conflict, employees need to feel like they can have tough conversations with their bosses without backlash.

As an employee, you want to feel empowered and confident to be able to speak to your boss. You want to build a relationship with your boss where they can be your mentor and advocate. Not only do you want to have that professional relationship, but you also want to have a personal relationship too. This relationship allows you to bring problems to their attention freely and openly.

Without further ado, here are six tips we have for having a tough conversation with your boss.

Explain the situation and context

One of the first steps when approaching your boss with a situation is to state your issue explicitly and give context around the issue. Your boss isn’t going to know what you’re thinking or feeling so you need to explain it to them. You also need to help them understand why you’re feeling a certain way and what prompted that.

Don’t waste time beating around the bush, just go straight into your issue. This doesn’t mean you’re being aggressive; you are just sharing facts from your point of view. By explaining your situation with “I” statements, you can explain your feelings to better explain your situation without coming off as aggressive.

Be honest and truthful

Though this may be a no-brainer, it’s a lot harder than you think to be honest and truthful when approaching your boss. While you want to exhibit candor, you don’t want to do so in a way that comes off as obnoxious. Be graceful and respectful when approaching your boss, choosing your words carefully. Don’t throw people under the bus or play the blame game. Make the conversation about you, not everyone else.

That being said, if something is bothering you, bring it up with your boss sooner rather than later. You don’t want to reach your tipping point before going to your boss with an issue. If you a non-confrontation person, this may be difficult for you because you anticipate the worst-case scenario if you do say something. However, it’s quite the opposite; it might be the best-case scenario if you have the courage to speak up.

Ask for your boss’s perspective

As an employee, you don’t have all the visibility into why your boss makes the decisions they do. You have no idea why they picked your co-worker for a project over you. That’s why it’s key to ask their perspective on the issue you bring to them. Don’t be afraid to ask them why they gave the project to your co-worker and ask what you can do next time, so you are at the top of the consideration list.

Go into the conversation with an open mind. Don’t think that your boss has it out for you because in most cases, they probably don’t. Finding out the reasoning behind their decisions can help you better understand their thought process. As a result, you might end up shifting your attitude and perspective to something more positive by the end of the conversation.

Make sure you reach a resolution and decide next steps

The worst thing you can do when talking to your boss is leaving the conversation unresolved. The whole purpose of meeting with your boss was to resolve the issue by the end of the conversation. You don’t want to leave anything unresolved. Use the time with your boss to bring up any and all issues to make sure you have answers for all of your concerns. Not only will laying everything out on the table will help with your conscious, but it will also help your boss’s too.

A way to do this is by assigning each party action items to complete. Maybe you need to follow up on something or your boss needs to talk to their supervisor. Whatever it is, make sure you decide what needs to get done before you end the conversation, so you have something to circle back on.

Ensure that you and your manager are in a trusting relationship

When talking with your manager, you want to make sure that you can trust them. Like a friend, you don’t want them to spread your conversation around as office gossip. You want to make sure they approach your conversation seriously and with full confidentiality.

In the case that you don’t trust your manager, reach out to another colleague in the company who you can trust and feel comfortable talking to. You want a good gut feeling about the person you’re talking to without questioning their level of trust. If employee-manager confidentiality becomes an issue, reach out to their supervisor to bring the issue to their attention.

Find a time to meet with your boss to make sure you have their full attention

Like many bosses, your boss is probably busy every day between meetings they have and work they need to get done. Set up your meeting with your boss at a time where you know you’ll have their full attention, so they can focus on the conversation with you without getting distracted by other work.

You also want to set up a meeting in person and in private. While a phone meeting is great, it doesn’t lend itself to emotion and body language, both of which convey how you are really feeling. Make sure your meeting is in a private room or your bosses office to have full confidentiality without the office hearing what you have to say.

It’s no easy feat talking to your boss. For some, it’s the hardest thing to do. However, it’s necessary to not only address conflict but build a relationship with your boss. With these tips, you’re sure to feel comfortable talking to your boss the next time a conflict comes up.