One of the simplest, easy, no-cost actions of Cheer Leadership is also one that many people forget or simply haven’t made into a habit. This overlooked technique is one that has powerful subconscious potential to connect and bond people together. Instead of the usual “Good morning” to the corporate receptionist, try “Good morning, Akeem” for a more relational touch. Using an individual’s name along with eye contact increases the level of personalization and specificity so that it’s a meaningful interaction. You’ll be the first to get notified of important messages by acknowledging this new fan. In Dale Carnegie’s timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence People he wrote, “If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.” We feel more valued and respected when someone remembers our name. We feel more engaged in a conversation when someone uses our name. Carnegie further adds, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
According to Steve Miranda of Cornell University, people who feel isolated at work make less “discretionary effort” and are less motivated to do more than a minimum, both of which can affect productivity and the bottom line.
There are a number of things that can cause feelings of isolation at work - the physical layout or set up of the building, age gaps and generational differences, and new hires who are not properly onboarded and don’t feel like they “belong” just yet are only a few. The impacts of feeling isolated are far reaching and include mental fatigue, decreased creativity, poor decision-making, weakened immunity, and decreased productivity.
One way you as a manager or leader can help combat feelings of isolation in your office is by taking the time to learn and use the names of those you come in contact with, along with family and pets that are important to them. Extend it beyond just those on your team. Behavior is contagious, so when your fellow leaders see you addressing people by their names, they will take notice and follow suite. Imagine the transformation that will occur in the office by doing something that is so simple, yet is so impactful!
This week, I challenge you to make a conscious effort to learn the names of some of the people in your office that you don’t know or the names of their children, spouses, or pets. Make a more consistent effort to use the names of those on your team throughout the day. If you struggle with remembering people’s names, there are a few “hacks” you can use to make it easier. Some people swear by using an alliterative approach (Carina in Customer Support or Oksana from Oklahoma) or by making a connection between the person you’re talking to and someone else you know with the same name. A quick Google search provides a plethora of other ideas.
FUN FACT: The Guinness world record for the Longest name was set by Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Senior of Philadelphia, PA.