Why We All Need Friends at Work

Do you have a best friend at work? It might just be the secret to happiness and success.

My son joined the Navy last year, and this Thanksgiving, he didn’t have enough leave to come home. So, we traveled up to see him for the holiday as a family.

We stayed in a hotel and ate our Thanksgiving meal at a local restaurant.

It wasn’t ideal, but at least we were together.

On Saturday, we were all invited to a party. One of my son’s shipmates also had family in town. His family had rented an entire house for the holiday and invited a dozen sailors from the base for drinks and a traditional Cuban meal.

That night was the first time I saw my son interacting with his closest Navy buddies.

The laughter, jokes, smiles, and friendship were all very familiar. I recognized them from my own time in the Navy.

Seeing my son surrounded by friends that loved him and loved being around him made me extremely happy as a father.

It was the first time since he left for the Navy that I knew he had found his place.

He belonged to a special group, and I knew he would be successful in his Navy career.

I knew it because I could see his deep friendships.

There is an African Proverb that says, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Having friends at work is a powerful indicator of happiness and success.

Having friends at work is a powerful indicator of happiness and success. Click To Tweet

How do I know? It certainly has been the case throughout my career and it was also one of the findings in my favorite leadership book.

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently was written by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Buckingham and Coffman were Gallup analysts when they wrote this book. They drew upon 25 years of Gallup studies of 80,000 managers across 400 companies.

One of their conclusions was that solid personal relationships signify a positive workplace.

Solid personal relationships signify a positive workplace. Click To Tweet

Employees who could identify that they had close friends at work were more likely to be happy and successful in their careers.

The reasons are pretty straightforward.

When things are going great, you have friends to celebrate the moments.

In the tough times, friends will be there to help you get through.

Close friends watch out for you and have your back to ensure no one can come after you.

They support your crazy ideas and help make them a reality.

They are a shoulder to cry on and a hand to high five when you hit your goals.

Why do we need friends at work? Having close friends at work leads to happiness and success.

As leaders, we need to foster an atmosphere where friendships can form and thrive. It’s both good for employees and the overall performance of the business.

Leading like you are all in the same boat is a good place to start. Learn more in my new leadership book.

[US Navy Photo]

The Difference between a Great Team and an Elite Team

Something happened at my company three weeks ago that confirmed we are moving in the right direction. And it has nothing to do with our financial performance.

In our daily morning standup meeting, a founding employee announced she was pregnant with her first baby.

The reaction from the rest of the employees told me everything I needed to know. There were smiles, shouts of congratulations, clapping, and something even more powerful, tears.

I looked around and saw many of my employees crying for joy over this exciting news.

The response confirmed something I had been feeling for a long time; we were becoming more like family than a company. There was a bond developing that was special, and it was something I hadn’t sensed since I left the military.

We were becoming more like family than a company. Click To Tweet

Building a business for the past five years has felt a little like us against the world, but lately, I feel like the world doesn’t stand a chance.

My recent podcast guest, Dr. Larry Widman, confirmed what I suspected. My employees were displaying one of the essential characteristics of an elite team – love.

Let me explain.

Larry is a high-performance psychiatrist and an elite mindset coach. He works with CEOs, professional athletes, Olympians, and NCAA teams to develop the mental skills and mindset to push performance boundaries.

He said something on the podcast that stood out.

He explained that love plays a vital role in building an elite team. And this is consistent across every type of organization, from Navy Seals to NCAA National Champions.

It’s all about relationships, connections, and love.

The best teams move at the speed of trust. Click To Tweet

The best teams move at the speed of trust. They are willing to fight for the person on their right and their left because they care deeply about them.

Love is the one consistent ingredient that helps propel a team from great to elite.

So the question I would have for you today is, where are you in your organization?

Are your employees in it for just a paycheck or do they have deep relationships at work? Are you moving at the speed of trust?

If you’re not exploring how love can boost your performance, you’re missing out. You’re never going to have an elite team without the power of relationships, trust, and love.

The elite teams, the best of the best, the national champions, and those dominating their markets are the ones who demonstrate love for each other. They are the ones fighting shoulder-to-shoulder for each other every day.

If you want to look inside an elite team’s culture, listen to my podcast interview with Dr. Larry Widman.

I have the watch

 

P.S. I understand many who are reading this have bosses who don’t understand the value of people and relationships. For those of you with bosses like this, I am offering a new service. For just $10, I will anonymously mail a copy of my book, “I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following,” to your boss with a personal note. Click here and enter the discount code BOSS at checkout.

 

 

 

 

[Photo credit Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos/Getty Images]

The Forgotten Employee is your Greatest Asset

Did you know the most senior sailor on a nuclear submarine will back up the most junior sailor in an emergency?

It certainly was a surprise to my recent podcast guest, Jeff Akin.

When Jeff was a young sailor training to be a helmsman on the USS La Jolla, he heard something he would never forget. The Chief of the Boat, a man who had been in the Navy for nearly 20 years, told him:

“If it ever goes down and something bad happens to you, the first thing I’ll do is leave my post and take over yours.”

He said, “A submarine can operate without a Chief of the Boat, but it cannot operate without a helmsman.”

Jeff realized at that very moment how important his job was. His work was so critical that he would be replaced with the most senior watchstander on the boat if something happened to him.

On a submarine at sea, every sailor is essential to achieving the mission.

Even the most junior sailor.

This is also true in the business world. Every employee is essential to achieving the mission.

Every employee is essential to achieving the mission. Click To Tweet

But, unlike a submarine crew, most company managers don’t see junior employees as vital to their success.

Consider this.

Employees in positions like factory workers, customer service representatives, cashiers, and service technicians are mostly taken for granted.

They are often referred to as “headcount” or labor expenses. They are considered replaceable and non-critical. They are the first to be let go or automated away.

Very few companies see these employees for what they really are – critical to achieving the mission.

In fact, these forgotten employees are your greatest assets.

They are the ones interfacing directly with customers. They are taking orders, building components, making repairs, shipping products, and collecting cash.

In short – they are your company’s front line.

They are adding value to your products, your business, and your customers every day.

A company can function without a manager, but it cannot operate without front-line workers.

A company can function without a manager, but it cannot operate without front-line workers. Click To Tweet

So, the question is – what are you doing to support these critical employees? Are you showing them the respect they deserve, or are you taking them for granted?

Stephen R. Covey said it best, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Today, take the time to remind your front-line employees how mission-critical they are. It may be the first time they have ever heard that from a leader.

Order the book: I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following

 

Listen to my full interview with Jeff Akin here and pick up a signed copy of my latest leadership book. It will teach you better ways to engage employees and achieve more remarkable results.