Contagious Handshakes: Reminding Managers to Pass it On

An editorial in yesterday’s Boston Globe, Handshakes: Good vibes can be contagious, was one of those feel-good reads. But more than that, the article is a great reminder for managers to pass along positive experiences that they are privileged to have.

In the article, students from a school in Massachusetts visited by President Obama who had the opportunity to shake the President’s hand are transmitting the experience by shaking hands with other students. “Hand to hand, the students linked themselves to each other and to the president who honored their school. There can be no better metaphor for what makes a successful school or community or society….”

In today’s workplace, managers are moving fast — so fast that they don’t always remember to share experiences they’re having that are relevant for their teams, such as company briefings or client feedback conversations. The decision they make to break the link by not passing along information is a lost opportunity to connect. Of course, managers are sometimes privy to conversations that can’t be shared, and I’m not suggesting that they breach confidences or share content not yet ready for public distribution. But in all other instances more communication, a stronger commitment to passing it on, can go a long way in boosting employees’ sense of community.  In the workplace, communication can be the “contagious handshake.”

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