Connecting the dots

As I drive over the sea link bridge on a rain-kissed morning in Mumbai, looking at the choppy waters below this quote pops into my head. “Safety is not the absence of threat; it is the presence of connection.” Gabor Mate

I feel safe and secure on this particular morning. What a gift that is from the universe. Over the last 26 years, there have been so many times that I have driven through this city filled with anxiety and feeling threatened. What shifted? Something within me for sure and also something in my environment. I am more present. More self-aware. More honest with myself. I am also more plugged into my world. Connected with my family (work and home). I now know who my friends are and I know those who are not. This connection with the universe is a powerful charge for my soul.

Do the threats exist? Yes of course they do. Nothing is promised. No guarantee that tomorrow will be good for me and mine. But I can be good to tomorrow in whatever shape it shows up. Secure in the knowledge that the connections I have been able to plug into are always there to recharge me and get me ready for whatever emerges.

Plugging in is not enough. The switch has to turn on and there needs to be electricity for the power to flow. Not all relationships offer that surge of power. Genuine meaningful human connection when it happens is where the power lies. I must go out there and seek those connections. Work friends. Family friends. New friends. Old friends. This connection with people is the power supply that makes my world feel safer.

If these connections power me up and empower me then I must offer the same to others. Friendship is a renewable energy source. Being a friend is where safety grows. From this safe space so much good can grow. Creative energy. Innovation. Possibilities emerge. From a space of fear and threat, there is normally only the freeze, fight, or flight response.

I had the privilege of spending a few hours with the first group of 65 ‘Trainee Account Executives’ who have joined the Adfactors family and are being inducted into the world of public relations. It is one thing to tell them to be fearless and curious, and an entirely other, to create an environment that allows them to feel safe enough to do just that. Building psychological safety in the workplace is such an important part of building a team that can be their best selves.

Using the framework of Tim Clark, who has defined the four stages of psychological safety, this new group has just entered the firm and are at stage one Inclusion Safety. We have their back and they are part of our world now. The next three stages of Learner Safety, (is it safe to ask ‘silly’ questions); Contributor Safety (do I have something useful to add to the conversation? Maybe my HR background can be used in PR…) and Challenger Safety (Can I respectfully disagree with something or someone, without it becoming disagreeable?) This is our collective task as leaders and team members. To connect with them and help them to help them find joy and meaning in their work and workplace.

For an organisation to get the best out of its talent, creating a safe space filled with meaningful connections is the simple formula for growth and success. Connect the dots, find your people, and from that safe space, power up and let your light shine.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

Be the first to comment on "Connecting the dots"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.