Social Connectivity – The ‘superpower for leaders’

Claire Cater, 3 July, 2015

The ‘superpower’ for leaders who want to create change that works

In a world connected by channels like veins, the biggest failure is not connecting with the receiver.

There’s currently a disconnection with society and people, which is fuelled by the distraction of knowledge overload and complexity, and we forget the simple truth of our greatest superpower – human social connection.

So consider this and take your ‘superpower’ seriously. It’s not a nice to have, it should take centre stage.

Did you know that we have a ‘social thinking’ space in our brains, separate from our analytical thinking space? Did you know that social pain – feeling unwanted, not included or listened to – shows in the brain like physical pain? Our social brain gives us pleasure and pain and the urge to live, work and play together – it influences how we feel and behave. It enables us to co-operate and collaborate.

Our need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water and shelter. Think about it – your biggest memories are wrapped up in how you felt in that moment.

Our social nature drives us to develop new innovations and major societal changes. We are wired to think ‘how can this help others I know?’.

When our analytical thinking goes down, our social brain pops up. It’s why we often get our best ideas in the shower or in the middle of a conversation with friends.

The world’s greatest leaders have the ability to focus on results, use knowledge wisely and connect socially with people on a human level. Less than 5% of leaders excel in both.

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.” Woodrow Wilson

Think Branson… He understands that flying is more than travelling. He focusses on how he makes the traveller feel and the crew too. L’Oreal’s ‘because you’re worth it’, says it all.

We also know that, whatever theory of behaviour change you adopt, the main factors influencing behaviour are: 1. Personal (knowledge, belief, habits), 2. Social (how people relate to one another) and 3. Environmental (locally where you live and the facilities etc. and more widely – the economy and technology).

So, if you are modelling, planning, designing and trying to make change work, spread a brilliant new idea or technology, or encourage people to work in new ways, it’s vital that you connect with people to understand them and their world.

The potential is there if only leaders would invest more of themselves, and their organisation, in meaningful engagement and connection.

This is our passion at The Social Kinetic: Helping organisations and leaders to engage and connect with people, places and the social and cultural influences, alongside the facts and the data.

Claire Cater