What is Relatableness and why is there a red squiggly line underneath it?
Relatableness (n.) — The practice of an authentic leader who actively seeks out individuals to engage in meaningful, purposeful and compassionate conversations vertically and horizontally in an organization with a purpose to create micro-moments of meaning. A coined word derivative of relatable, from the root, to relate (v.). - Dr. James B. Kelley
I am pretty sure relatableness is not a real word, only because it has a red squiggly line underneath it. Nonetheless, it makes the point I am trying to make. Authentic leaders that exude the value, desire and purpose of human connection thrive in the workplace.
Researchers Arlen Moller, Edward Deci, and Andrew Elliott were curious as to what the value of relating is for a person who engages in repeated positive interactions. What they found and I think this is important- is that every day that an employee initiates a positive, relatable communication with another person, the person who receives the positive interaction becomes incrementally more positive in that environment. Taking this result further, imagine the outcome when an authentic leader makes a deliberate effort to have a positive, meaningful interaction with their colleagues. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or take a considerable amount of time; it just has to be meaningful, genuine and positive.
If you play this out over multiple workdays, you’re going to create a positive work environment. And there’s nothing better than that because if you have a positive work environment, you have more loyal employees, higher levels of engagement, increased innovation and an all-around healthier financial bottom line. Also, through incrementally positive interactions, an authentic leader can create a healthy emotional and physical work environment. Plus, it is a great way to start tackling the 31% engagement rate reported by the Gallup Organization.
On the flipside of that, if you don’t feel valued if you don’t feel like you’re a part of something more significant, then not only is your production going to lag, but your attitude won’t be far behind. One of the more notable indicators of employee engagement is a clear sense of personal and organizational purpose. So when a leader, manager or CEO takes the time to align your purpose with the organizational purpose, it is like going to Disney Land when you are a kid. Highly enthusiastic, highly driven and happy as a clam.
On Executives After Hours Podcast, In an interview that I conducted with Dr. Richard Ryan, a leading researcher on intrinsic motivation, he stated the following in regards to relating;
There’s an area of relatedness, and here’s one of the cheapest areas for intervention in corporations but one that’s maybe the most neglected. So, in relatedness, you’re really creating a sense that people do belong, that they’re valued and significant inwhat they’re doing, that they have something to contribute. I think we so often don’t allow employees to understand and feel good about what they give to our companies. That’s so much about what belongingness entails.
Thus, there is a sense of urgency to create micro-moments of meaning in the workplace. These moments only take a second but can have a huge impact. You never know where a person is on their personal journey. You may in one seemingly small, genuine interaction nudge them in a different direction. Whether you lead a team or not, make it a priority to listen with intent, and create a micro-moment of meaning for someone at your workplace, coffee shop, or while walking down the street.