Stronger Ties with Coworkers Boost Creativity and Resilience: Here’s How to Start

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Lecturer Monica Worline, Professor Jane Dutton, and PhD alumna Ashley Hardin, writing in Harvard Business Review, show why it’s time to form stronger bonds with colleagues.

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Dutton

Humans are social animals, and making connections with each other is critical to our mental and physical health. Making connections often gets forgotten at work, however, where time pressures get in the way of forming friendships.

But with stress and workplace incivility on the rise, it’s time to start forming those bonds, say Michigan Ross Lecturer Monica Worline, Professor Jane Dutton, and Ashley Hardin (BBA ’09/PhD ’17), professor of organizational behavior at Washington University’s Olin Business School.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, they say there’s a dire need for more compassion in the workplace. Their research shows four ways people can bring more compassion at work, build stronger ties, and create a better work environment. These include learning how to notice suffering, perfecting your capacity for inquiry, tuning into your own feelings of concern, and being creative with compassionate actions.  

“Too many people think of compassion and connection with others as a nice-to-have in organizations. But if people feel like they belong and genuinely care about one another, they will be more creative, resilient, and eager to contribute at work,” they write.

Dutton and Worline are authors of Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations and are faculty members of the Center for Positive Organizations at Ross.

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