Marcel Schwantes talks with author Dr. Melanie Katzman about her book, Connect First: 52 Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning and Joy at Work. Melanie is a psychologist and executive coach to the world’s top organizations and government agencies. She is also the founder of Katzman Consulting and a founding partner of the global nonprofit Leader’s Quest. She has been featured in The Financial Times, New York Times, Vanity Fair among others, and has made numerous television appearances on ABC, CBS and Lifetime.
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The big idea in Melanie’s book is that we should stop and take a look at the many things that can be done on a daily basis to improve our lives and the lives of the people that we work with. Her book gives practical, actionable ideas to improve our lives. [4:14]
If we don’t change ourselves, we can’t change anything around us. [4:59]
Smiling is a neuro hack: if you smile at someone, they smile back at you. A smile ignites engagement with others immediately. [5:24]
Marcel asks why connecting matters from a business standpoint. Melanie responds that it matters because it’s the way to get the highest quality information as quickly and frequently as possible. If you alienate people they will not perform for you. [7:30]
Engaging all your senses means being attentive to people. See the people around you, smile, talk with them. Listen to them: focus on understanding the message they are trying to communicate to you. Share food together to get to know them and understand their culture. [8:15]
Melanie explains that being popular means being the person who people want to be with. People respond to people who show an interest in them, she says. This is important to help you advance in your career. [10:56]
One of the best ways to connect with others is to tell stories. Stories reduce your listener’s defenses, make them calm down and listen to you, and taps into the part of our biology that helps us connect. [12:10]
Marcel says that handling conflict takes skill, and not having that skill can cause damage. He asks Melanie to share how we can resolve conflict amicably without losing connection. [12:39]
Melanie says that you don’t have a real relationship unless you’ve handled conflict and come through it successfully together. She shares how to handle conflict successfully, including advice on how to apologize the right way. [13:07]
Two trends that are causing people to forget how to connect in the workplace are our focus on our technological devices and the speed associated with technology. We’ve come to expect instant responses and results, and are so busy we brush aside the human to human connection we all need. [17:14]
The lack of human connection leads to a lot of conversation in our heads with ourselves, in which we develop a whole narrative about what the other person thinks or feels about us. Oftentimes we’re wrong. [19:03]
Melanie explains the science of why we need human connection and the positive outcomes when we connect. [20:00]
They discuss love and fear in the workplace. Melanie shares why she believes people lead from fear, and the benefits of leading with love. [23:40]
Melanie wants us to realize that no matter your situation, what you do and how you do it makes all the difference for yourself and for others and for the community around you. So don’t be paralyzed. Take action and recognize that we all have a platform, and we should leverage it with intention. [32:56]
The Book: Connect First
- Steve Farber: Love Is Just Damn Good Business (Episode #25)
- Melissa Hughes: Employee Engagement Starts in the Brain (Episode #20)
- Renée Smith: The Benefits of Love in the Workplace (Episode #16)
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