Building Bridges At Work: Creating Connection Despite Differences

Building Bridges At Work: Creating Connection Despite Differences

“When we genuinely care and get curious about others, their differences become a source of growth and connection.” – Jeff Davis

In a world filled with diverse perspectives and backgrounds, establishing meaningful connections with others can sometimes be challenging. This is particularly true in the workplace, where individuals often find themselves collaborating with colleagues who hold significantly different values, beliefs, and experiences. However, despite these differences, it is possible to build bridges and cultivate connection in order to foster excellent collaboration and working relationships. In this article and its related video, we will explore a powerful tool that can help diagnose and make progress in connecting with others, even when faced with significant differences.

Common Barriers to Connection in the Workplace

Before delving into the process of creating connections, it is important to acknowledge the barriers that can hinder these connections. Age gaps, cultural disparities, language barriers, religious differences, political views, family dynamics, gender, sexual orientation, and organizational roles are just a few examples of factors that can create barriers to connection. It is essential to recognize and address these differences in order to foster understanding and collaboration.

The cool thing is – the diversity in these many areas when handled well, can change from a challenge to a strength for a connected team!

The Elevator of Connection: A Tool for Diagnosis and Progress

To bridge the gap and elevate the level of connection with someone, regardless of the differences, a powerful tool called the Elevator of Connection can be employed. The Elevator of Connection is a metaphorical framework that allows individuals to assess their current level of connection and guide their progress towards deeper understanding and empathy.

Imagine the Elevator of Connection with the ground floor representing the baseline level of curiosity. Curiosity acts as a bridge, enabling individuals to genuinely care about and wonder why others are different. By asking questions and seeking to understand different perspectives, we can raise our level of connection, progressing towards appreciation and acceptance of others for who they are. 

Ultimately, the highest floor of the elevator represents empathy, where individuals are able to truly feel and understand the experiences and emotions of others.

Elevating Connection in Practice

If you find yourself feeling disconnected or experiencing negative emotions towards someone, you are likely residing in the “basement” of the Elevator of Connection. Feelings of resentment, judgment, or indifference indicate a lack of curiosity and openness. However, by pressing the “up” button and intentionally cultivating curiosity, you can initiate a transformative shift in your connection with others.

Starting with curiosity is a simple yet powerful step in elevating connection. By asking great questions and genuinely listening to the responses, we create space for understanding and connection to flourish. The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity and efficiency—asking a great question and actively listening can have a profound impact on an entire interaction, regardless of its brevity.

To put this into practice, I invite you to identify one person with whom you have been struggling to connect or maintain a positive relationship. Approach this individual with a genuine sense of curiosity, seeking to understand their unique perspectives and experiences. Ask a great question and be fully present to actively listen to their response. By engaging in this simple act of curiosity, you have the potential to unlock a deeper level of connection and observe the positive outcomes that arise from it.

In conclusion, creating connections with others, despite differences, is an ongoing process that requires intention and effort. By embracing the Elevator of Connection and starting with curiosity, we can bridge divides and foster understanding in even the most challenging relationships. Let us commit to applying this tool in our daily interactions, striving to elevate connection and build bridges that transcend differences. Together, we can create a world where authentic connections thrive and meaningful collaboration becomes the norm.

Watch more in the video below: