To be successful as leaders we have to connect with other human beings. People want to follow other humans they can relate to and aspire to be, not untouchable royalty they have nothing in common with and who care nothing about them. They want to follow people who have a vested stake in their success and who they feel comfortable being around. Hugging and touching helps leaders communicate that connection in an instant. Hugs help us feel closer, build trust, and improve communication with the other person. A touch on the shoulder, a warm handshake, or a quick hug communicates appreciation and recognition much more effectively than just words. Hugs have also been shown to improve memory, reduce stress, and provide a feeling of safety. This is not just an emotional reaction; it is also a physical one. Hugs release oxytocin which is like a relationship hormone. It is found in increased levels in people with positive relationships. Hugging also increases serotonin levels, which helps people feel happier and more relaxed. Hugs help improve the immune system and the production of white blood cells and help us release tension. A hug can serve as a warm welcome, or a thank you at the end of a tough project. Hugs also show people you understand when they are working through a tough time personally or at work. Hugs open us up when we are feeling constrained and up-tight. A hug gives us permission to start a dialogue about what is bothering us and opens up channels of communication. Hugs are another way of communicating the importance of people in our lives. Hugging sends the message that they are important to us and they matter.
There is a false assumption that hugging and touching are not allowed in the workplace. People are more scared of the legal ramifications than interested in connecting with people on their team. The rule is simple; don’t hug someone that doesn’t want to be hugged. Offer the hugs, don’t force them.
Give hugs freely and people will be attracted to your warmth and will work to support you as a leader and help you succeed.
The World Needs More Hugs!
“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” Ann Hood