Making Connections - The Importance of Being Seen, Heard and Valued

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Awareness Advantage Podcast
Making Connections

Kevin McCarthy, and Likky Lavji


The following is a summary of this episode of the Awareness Advantage podcast. Each week bestselling Blind Spots authors, Kevin McCarthy and Likky Lavji and a studio audience of managers and senior leaders throughout North America discuss overcoming blind spots to develop and lead high-functioning, high-trust teams and organizational cultures. If you would like to be invited to join the live virtual studio audience, click here




Why is the idea of connection so important? And then what is the practicality of connection in the workplace? On the surface we understand that in order to do a job well, we understand relationships and connections must be made, and yet it is important to take a deeper dive and examine what does connection really mean to us–and how connection relates to deeper relationships. 


Connection is a Human Need

No matter who you are, or where you are, human connection is a necessity. No one on this planet does anything that does not affect someone else–from small ways to big. Depending on the situation, these connections can mean different things. From superficial interactions, to intimate–and everything in between–we connect daily. 

Different types of Connection

Connections can be deep and meaningful or they can be strictly transactional. You have a connection with the lady who hands you your Cafe Americano in the morning. And you have a connection with your grandmother. When you have a connection, you have are aligning energy to fuel the work that needs to be done. There are different types of connections and these connections can evolve (or devolve!)

Seasons of Connections

When we work closely with a team in the workplace, these people become connected. They rely on each other, they build trust, they solve problems. And often when the project ends, and an individual moves on, the connection ends–or maybe pauses. As time goes by, these people may choose to continue to be connected, or not! Choosing connection can create relationship. A relationship can be truly authentic in the moment, but fade away over time for many reasons. 


Relationships take time. Connections can be instant. 

People can connect over shared interests, location or commonalities. These connections can happen instantaneously and without intention. Think about getting on a plane and having a stranger sit next to you. You have a connection. This person will share space with you for hours. You may rely on them to get up so you are able to get to the bathroom, or to hand you your soda and pretzels. You may even chat a little. But you do not have a relationship. Not unless you put effort and intentionality into it. If you leave that plane with a new friend, a great story, and having a way to follow up–then you have a connection AND a relationship!


Relationship vs Connection. Connection = Relationship.

Relationship and connection are used interchangeably. But are they? Certainly you need a connection to have a relationship. But you don’t need a relationship to connect with the receptionist at the doctor’s office, or share a laugh with the person you accidentally bump into at the airport.


Connection Style and Personality

Some people need a full book of contacts to be successful. Some people want a few good meaningful relationships. Different people have different styles and needs. Some of this has to do with position, age, personality type, and goals–but the point is that your connection style may be different than someone else… and that is just fine. 


Your Vibe Tribe

Some people just “get” you. They laugh at your jokes, listen to the same music, or have common life experiences. Many relationships start with this great “vibe.” One way to look at it is that you can have a connection without it being reciprocal. For example, you may connect with a band–and their music. But you do not have a relationship, and your connection is only one-way. 


Being Seen, Heard & Valued

Brené Brown, Author of “The Gifts of Imperfection” says that “Connection is the energy that exists between people when the feel seen, heard and valued.” That connection is literally something we can feel inside of us, and is one of the best gifts humanity gives us. There is true value in connection.

Raising your self-awareness and emotional intelligence will make you a better leader. High self-awareness equips you to identify and conquer the blind spots that lead to poor decisions, strained relationships and high levels of stress. Awareness is the leader’s superpower that drives engagement, inspires retention and shifts culture. Awareness gives you the advantage you need to influence and inspire the people you lead.


If you would like to know more about how self-awareness makes a better leader, download our latest podcast.


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