According to research, our brains respond positively to those we feel a personal connection with, causing us to try harder, perform better, and act kinder toward colleagues and leaders with whom we connect. Though leaders should connect with their employees and convey emotion and vulnerability to increase positive employee responses and build trust, they must also be aware of the limitations, as oversharing may actually decrease management’s authenticity and employees’ trust in its leadership abilities.
Here are a few ways leaders can connect with their employees without oversharing.
Offer Empathy, Not Complaints
Instead of complaining about fatigue from long hours or feeling undervalued, leaders should praise employees for their high performance and company loyalty and offer empathy when trying to connect on an authentic level.
Learn to Regulate Emotions
To remain effective, leaders should learn to manage their negative emotions and even practice yoga or meditation if it helps in handling stressful tasks. Practicing emotional intelligence and considering others’ perspectives and emotions will also decrease the likelihood of emotional outbursts that undermine management’s leadership abilities.
Refrain from Being Secretive
Leaders should avoid secrets and refrain from disclosing employees’ personal information or confidential company information, as well as their own personal secrets. Leaders should also be transparent about strategic information with everyone it might affect to maintain trust and professionalism.
Respect and Uphold Personal Boundaries
A company’s leadership should redirect employee conversations that involve personal stories or concerns that are irrelevant to the workplace or work schedules, and instead of exchanging secrets and discussing mental health issues such as depressive episodes, addiction, and family histories, leaders should recommend professional therapists who are qualified to aid in more personal matters.
Always Focus on a Route Forward
Most importantly, leaders should use vulnerabilities and emotions to plot a route forward for their organization and employees and channel those feelings to create a positive trajectory and keep everyone focused on the company’s relevant goals and overall mission.
To foster more authentic and effective leaders, encourage them to follow the practices outlined above.