5 Approaches To Connecting Your People

by  Paul LaRue  |  Team Dynamics
5 Approaches To Connecting Your People

Have you ever noticed how people tend to herd into groups and stay in those groups?

Do you notice that most people “seek their own” in your organization and stay in those comfortable groups?

Have you ever been frustrated that your people don’t seem to cross the aisle, or the building, and readily build relationships among each other?

Getting your folks integrated with each other is a challenge for most leaders. However, it’s a vital skill that you can easily hone to create a more engaged community within your own organization.

Engagement isn’t just defined by employees being engaged with the company’s leaders. Engagement is at its best when employees across all departments and teams work together and create a synergy that perpetuates the organization’s culture and values.

As a leader, you play a key role in jump-starting the process of connecting your people. Here are five great approaches to creating a culture of connection in your organization:

  1. Have A Host Mindset – When you host a gathering at your home, it is natural to introduce new people to each other and grow new friendships. It’s similar in the workplace. By being a host, or the term I use, connector, you can forge new work relationships that will build a deeper team and create more working partnerships within the overall organization.
  2. Get Others Talking Among Themselves – Beyond connecting people, it is necessary at times to instigate dialogue in order to get people to fully connect. One way is to start conversations then fade away as the parties start to relate. This area is a guilty pleasure of mine, because fading into the background as two people connect is a thrilling part of leadership and team building. Do this and watch with amazement at what happens.
  3. Cross Over Teams With Projects In Ways They Otherwise Would Not Connect – Sometimes we get so routine oriented that we silo projects within one team, thus isolating the teams by our own design. Think of how a project can benefit from other people’s input, or how they can develop through the project. Fold them into the other teams to create a big picture awareness of the organization and a mutual vision of what the company is working towards.
  4. Build Training Around Interdisciplinary Groups To Build Teamwork – I conducted food safety kitchen training for healthcare organizations before realizing they were not the only ones involved in the food chain. I opened this up to the nursing and direct care staff, then realized that the entire organization could benefit from these courses. Food safety in the home is important too. What resulted was a popular class because it was one of the only times the organization was able to meet and work together. By finding applications in training for the entire team, you can build their awareness, and appreciation, for what their colleagues do and create better understanding to processes. People will be more willing to resolve any issues if they know what is involved.  You can also invite other departments to team meetings each time to build bridges as well.
  5. Feature A Different Team Regularly In Your Organization – Is everyone aware of the rides maintenance crew in a theme park? How about the housekeeping staff at an assisted living facility? Do your people realize there are some dedicated employees in the accounting department? Or that an employee – a young college student – just won an academic award? Use your company’s newsletters, intranet, quarterly meetings, and company bulletin boards to promote teams and individuals across the workplace and gain an appreciation for the people behind the faces.

Imagine the incredible opportunities you have to build culture, engagement, and an enjoyable workplace if you connect your people to each other. These points are just a starting block, the rest is up to you to pursue.

Have a success story on connecting your people? Share with us below!
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About The Author

Articles By paul-larue
Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and author of “Leadership LIFT: Take Your Leadership to New Heights”. Paul draws off of his years in senior leadership to pursue his passion – to enable leaders to increase their positive influence in their world.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Allison A.  |  24 Aug 2015  |  Reply

This is a great article!
Outside of connecting some of our interns with each other or interns with upper level, mentor-like employees, I have not been as involved in connecting others yet. I have, however, been the recipient of this kind of management/networking structure, and it has been rewarding.

My company hosts trainings for large groups of employees, firm wide, and across various disciplines, who are at the same stage of their career. Together we experience training on how the company is run, the goals and vision of the company’s future, and how to prepare for our own individual paths. The best part about these connections is knowing that we will all “grow up” in the firm together. It is so much easier and more motivating to solve problems on my own when I have personal connections to other departments. Even if my connection cannot help me, they will know better who to ask. I look forward to promoting and facilitating these types of connections in the future.

Paul LaRue  |  25 Aug 2015  |  Reply

So glad this inspired you Alison! Keep promoting others and thread those connections through each day. Your organization will be stronger because of it.


John E. Smith  |  24 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Paul

What a great little post to start our week off:)

I have never read this idea of leader as host anywhere else. Of course, this makes great sense, Paul. If I were hosting a get-together at my house, I would do these thing naturally, considering them just what a good host does.

Your points about cross-functional learning and “exposing” the hidden team members in our organizations are also gold. Too often, we become so focused on our specific role, function, and group, we forget all the other folks who contribute and support.

The potential here by using your framework and excellent strategies for positive leadership interaction and true influence through building socially-based connections is significant.

Thanks for a useful start to our weekly leadership thinking fest.


Paul LaRue  |  24 Aug 2015  |  Reply

John, thanks you so much! I’m glad the host analogy struck a chord, it just seems like a natural way to conduct connectedness, as you mentioned.

Appreciate your enthusiasm and support as always!

Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen)  |  24 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Really enjoyed this post, Paul!

Paul LaRue  |  24 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Thank you Paula! Let’s start Monday off with some energy and enthusiasm!

Jay Taber  |  27 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Mr La Rue:

If there were more management personnel in every company like you, there would be higher moral and production, and managers would have nothing to do. What a concept. Unfortunately, most managers feel the need to micromanage there workforce reducing both production and moral

Have you written a book about this management style??? If so, I’d like to purchase it, I’m sure it’s a great read! The I would make it mandatory reading for all employees. If you haven’t written a book on this, you should consider it.

Jay Taber

Lynn Hinderaker  |  25 Sep 2015  |  Reply

Paul is right…but he hasn’t gone far enough with points 1 and 2….

Business is a talk show! All talk shows have a host.

This is a usable metaphor. In fact, Fast Company magazine used this very idea as a cover story in 1999…placing David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey on the cover….discussing how informal conversations create vectors of influence…and that leaders understand that and encourage it.

Leadership-as-host is good. “Boundaryless” connections are good. “Business-as-talk show” is great because it’s so true.

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