Social Relationships at Work

Peering over a cubicle

Social relations, social connectedness, is a powerful and fundamental human drive. Mountains of psychological and social science research shows us that individuals deprived of social connectedness deeply suffer.  Evan Gallup, in its famous G12 employee survey has “I have a friend at work” as one indicator of employee engagement. When we connect and become connected to something bigger than ourselves, we thrive.

I am reflecting a lot lately on social connectedness because I was asked by a client to facilitate a seminar on building workplace relationships.  My client, an HR director, was hearing from staff that they felt isolated from other departments at work and did not know how to develop professional relationships. (more…)

Volunteer Leadership Development Programs: An Essential Solution For Sustaining Association Leadership

Consider the following scenario:

Helen sat at her desk and put her head in her hands. As an experienced association Executive Director, she was well-versed in managing the dynamics of marshalling paid staff and dedicated volunteers to achieve mission. Her staff is wonderful but the volunteers are causing her to have many sleepless nights.

The current Board is having difficulty getting things done. Most of the Board members are experienced professionals with 15 to 20 year service records. The challenge is that they are all highly experienced technical professionals with little to no leadership experience.  The members with leadership titles in their organizations lean heavily on a command and control leadership style which is pretty ineffective with volunteers. The result? Board meeting are like herding cats; Board members stick to their own opinions like glue and consensus decisions drag on for hours.

To compound Helen’s woes, three Board members are stepping down next month and the pipeline for new Board talent is virtually empty. The younger association members seem reluctant to serve on task forces and committees.  Incentive for devoting the time needed for serving in a leadership capacity just don’t seem to appeal to the younger generations. Helen reached for her bottle of aspirin and sighed.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it should. (more…)

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