By Dr. Brent Bokhart, IPLI Mentor, Principal at Crawfordsville Middle School
In a world that runs on a digital footprint, human connection matters more now than ever. We operate through a lens of email, Instagram likes, Zoom calls and Google Meets, virtual webinars, and text messaging. Students swipe up through Tik Tok after Tik Tok or YouTube video after YouTube video. As with anything, there is a proper balance to how we operate daily. As the saying goes, too much of any one thing is not a good thing.
We learned many life-changing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, none of the least being the importance of human connection as it was lost, especially early in the pandemic during the lockdown periods. For a year and a half, society talked about the need to get back to everyday life and peer interactions, yet we struggle to prioritize that even during a time that is easing back to normal.
It’s time to prioritize the human connection that will boost our workplace, and as leaders, we can help promote the environment that allows this to happen. Christine Comaford, leadership and culture coach, emphasizes the importance of not breaking social interactions. Social interactions will enable the brain to take in those positive hormones, such as dopamine, that will allow us to feel better about our actions internally. This, in turn, positively impacts workplace performance. Again as leaders, we can create an environment that allows social interaction and team building to occur, boosting our overall productivity in the workplace.
Engage the heart, and rewards will be evident. Joe Beckman discusses a teacher’s necessity to engage the hearts of their students for their content to reach them ultimately. As principals and leaders, we must recognize doing the same with our teachers. Engaging the hearts of your teachers promotes the instructional initiatives necessary to occur in the classroom. A principal’s initiatives will ultimately fall short if there is a lack of human connection. It’s time to find and model the human connection that society needs during a time when it is losing a battle with digital warfare! So the next PLC or staff meeting builds in that time for social interaction to occur; it will pay off in the long run!
Beckman, J. Human Connection Matters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRED4GTcu_w&t=2s
Comaford, C. (2022). The Neuroscience of Connection: How Social Constructs Boost Engagement. Forbes.