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Build Better Work Relationships

I am still thinking about improving mental health at work by getting more connected to those we work with. The train of thought was all inspired by a few of the speakers at the MG 100 conference. Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the current head of New York City’s Department of Mental Health. Ashwin redirected the conversation from the passing pandemic to the current epidemic. That is how he referred to the mental health crisis we are experiencing.

He was indignant about the fact that mental health is still stigmatized, and people look at it as a weakness. As a result, people don’t talk about it. But that is changing.

He said, “I am talking about it. It is a strength to talk about it. I talk about it to everyone, everywhere I go.”

Just recently I heard a PSA by Megan Thee Stallion about being vulnerable sharing, “They say Black don’t crack, but it can. I can.”

Now I am talking about it. Social isolation is an issue. Here’s what we know:

  • Loneliness is physically detrimental to your health.
  • Social isolation has a greater impact on mortality than smoking or obesity.
  • Strong work friendships predict happiness in your job.
  • Close work relationships are directly correlated to productivity and engagement.

We are in a mental health crisis and the solution is connection. It needs to be created in all the environments in which we live. And where we live most of the time is work.

I shared last week about the Connect groups within the MG 100 community and how the experience has created fast and deep relationships among the members. What I didn’t explain is what a Connect Group is.

In essence, the name says it all. It is a small group of people, usually 6 – 9, getting together for the sole purpose of connecting and supporting each other. A facilitator guides the weekly calls so everyone has a week in the spotlight to tell their story. There are lots of ways to tell your story and we share different formats in the kickoff session.

The goal is for you to let people know all about you and where you may seek input or advice. It creates a very fast, very deep and very lasting connection. You feel seen, you feel known, and you feel supported.

We’ve been thinking about how to bring this to the corporate environment and recently launched Corporate Connects. Our Corporate Connects guidelines are a bit different to increase participants’ comfort with the concept in this environment.

Curious about it for your organization? Want to create a more connected culture and team? Let’s chat, just reach out and we can get connected too!


Michelle Tillis Lederman, (CSP, PCC, SCC, MBA) is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 Networking Experts, and one of the Top 30 Communications Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. Michelle is a speaker, trainer, executive coach, and author of four books including The Connector's Advantage and The 11 Laws of Likability. She was invited to the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Group, “100 Coaches Community brings together the world’s premier leadership thinkers” to seek ways to advance positive impact and give back to society. 

An executive coach, people expert, and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with fortune 500, non-profit, university and government clients she’s identified the common struggle… it’s people challenges. When asked by her young son what she does, she simply replied, “I help people work better together.” This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small including JPMorgan, J&J, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, MetLife, Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Garden.

She received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. Executive Essentials is a certified Women Business Enterprise.

You may also contact Michelle at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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