Erving Polster, a distinguished Gestalt psychologist, states in Uncommon Ground that people have a common hunger for belonging. Polster writes: "There is a feeling of oneness where people have a heightened sense of self and of others for whom they share a common destiny. In such a community there is recognition that our personal interests and those of Discount Merrell Shoes other people are intertwined." The satisfaction of the human need for connection, then, is a driver that can create high energy and commitment in the workforce.
When I moved my 95-year-old mother into an independent living facility two years ago, her first goal was to establish a community of friendships. The same would be true of a child entering kindergarten. Everyone, regardless of age, needs a secure emotional base from which to experience human connection. But Polster also emphasizes that while human beings need community, they also want their individuality honored and respected. An authentic community fosters connectedness while also respecting individual differences in personality style, political affiliation, approaches to getting work completed, religion, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or even physical stature, To prevent this community wholeness from smothering diversity, there must be a philosophy of pluralism, an open climate for dissent, and room for mavericks.
Tom Rath, a Gallup Organization executive, has spent years making sense of a large body of Gallup survey data about friendships at the workplace. In his book, Vital Friendships, Rath writes: "Of all the items we asked people to respond to, this one had the strongest linkage to job satisfaction: 'My workgroup feels like a family People who are fortunate enough to work in a family-like group are far more likely to be in the thick of what's going on at work and can clearly see how their customers' benefit from their close relationships." Similar patterns can be found in sports. Consider Phil Jackson, coach of 10 NBA championship teams—six with the Chicago Bulls and four with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson explains his philosophy of practice for Merrell Shoes on Sale building winning teams in his book Sacred Hoops: "Players need to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the team; to blend individual talent with heightened group awareness; and to surrender their self interest for the greater good." He argues,"Energy is unleashed when players put their egos aside," Jackson also believes that "most players resonate with the idea of surrendering to something larger than them." In one particularly compelling statement, he says, "Basketball is a sport that involves the subtle interweaving of players at full speed to the point where they are thinking and moving as one.
To do that they need to trust each other at a deep level." When team members do not share these assumptions and behaviors, individuals are less likely to coordinate their efforts to elevate group performance. Consider the case of a mid-level public manager in a state educational operations division who had recently transferred to a federal government job with comparable work: She inherited a small, four-person team.One team member seemed disengaged and unmotivated. Although her work quality was acceptable, it was almost always late, which affected the entire team. The manager, who had had training and experience in anytime coaching, decided that the micro improvement for this issue would be to complete weekly status reports on time and with greater accuracy. Rather than coaching the employee on the larger themes of low energy and disengagement, the manager held two 10-minute coaching conversations on the topic of improving her performance on timely and accurate reports. She asked, "What would need to happen differently to get the report in on time-1" She also asked how, as the manager, she could support her employee. The manager used straightforward conversational tools, such as requests and offers, and observed nonverbal cues while listening intently. As it turned out, the coaching conversation revealed that the employee needed a critical piece of information from another department and was simply too timid to ask for the data. The employee was uncomfortable because she perceived that asking for the information might initiate conflict.