Build a Better 2024 Through Connection

January 2, 2024

Hello, I'm JAIME
advisor, coach, and connection cultivator. Associate certified coach (ACC) and member of the international coaching federation (iCF) and the canadian positive psychology association (cppa).
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It doesn’t matter where I look – all the experts agree that collaboration and effective communication are essential for organizational success.

I work with teams who want to build these skills, not only so they are able to do great work, but also to make sure that WORK DOESN’T SUCK.

(It’s really important to actually enjoy the hours we spend with our colleagues!)

Korn Ferry just released some insights, and 60% of professionals polled said that their coworkers are ruder now than they were before the pandemic. This includes the nasty aggressive behaviors, but also the subtle things, like sarcastic comments that “sting”. (This stat looks a little better than others I have seen, which have been as high as 79%.)

The ability to do good work requires CONNECTION- both to ourselves, and to the people around us.

Are you emotionally intelligent and socially aware?

Do you know what message your words and behaviors send to your colleagues?

It’s interesting that the majority of us would emphatically state that we are respectful to the people around us, and are not rude – yet – the research doesn’t support this.

5 Quick tips:


You’re not really listening when your brain is jumping ahead and formulating your response. Build a better listening habit with your body. For example, simply resting your hands on your lap, palms up, is a cue to “be open minded” to dialogue. Uncrossing your arms and shifting your stance to be aligned with the person might remind you to connect. Many of my clients find that using their bodies (in a way that makes sense to them) is a great way to stay open minded and focused on the other.


Consider your words before you speak them. One of Dale Carnegie’s rules is to “never criticize, condemn or complain.” John and Julie Gottman wrote about the ‘Four Horsemen’ of toxic communication: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. The Franklin Covey Institute outline 13 behaviors of a high trust leader, one of which is “talk straight” – “be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand.” (FYI – another one is “demonstrate respect”, so consider that before you “let people know where you stand.”)

The point is that words are powerful, and what is said in a moment of frustration or anger can ruin the productivity and effectiveness of a working group.

A useful acronym that I came across while completing my coaching certification is:


T: is it true? Is this thing you’re about to say actually true? A fact? Or an opinion..? (No fake news, please…)

H: is it helpful? Does it help you, them, or the situation?

I: Is it inspiring?

N: is it necessary?

K: is it kind? Is the message coming from a place of good intention, and with care?


Other questions to ask yourself are:

Do I want to say this because I am emotionally charged? Am I angry? Do I want to “get back” at this person with my comments?

Who is my audience? Are there other people around that will be impacted if I say this?

How might I say appear to others? Could what I say be misinterpreted?

If I say these words, what will I be saying about myself?

In other words, who do you want to be, when you are the best version of yourself?


I generally tell people to avoid relying on assumptions – EXCEPT – we must assume the best intentions of others.

This helps us stay in a kind and collaborative mindset when communication (or disagreeing.) I remind myself that nobody wakes up in the morning with the thought “Ah yes! I can’t wait to ruin the day of every person I come into contact with!” Generally, we don’t think this way. We all move through our day just trying to get our work done and maybe have a bit of fun in between the meetings and emails. 


Start using the Platinum Rule. You may recall the “golden rule”: treat others how YOU want to be treated. However, following this rule is not ideal, considering the complexity of our working environment, and that we are all unique humans with different perspectives, likes and dislikes.

The Platinum Rule is slightly different: treat others how THEY want to be treated.

Maybe Tammy in accounting isn’t as cool with unscheduled-cubicle-drop-ins as I am. (Maybe Tammy isn’t as outgoing as I am, and perhaps these drop-ins feel pretty obnoxious to her.)

Further, just because I don’t mind the smell of microwaved fish lingering in the office ductwork for DAYS, doesn’t mean that I should MICROWAVE FISH IN THE OFFICE LUNCHROOM.

At the end of the day, don’t look at every situation only through YOUR own lens. Try to take the perspective of the others around you.

And before you say, “Jaime, you just said how we are all different! How am I supposed to know what every single person wants??”

Dude, just be genuinely curious and ASK.


Stay away from sarcasm – not everyone appreciates it. Sarcasm muddies-the-communication-waters and can be particularly tricky with new staff, or when we aren’t communicating face to face. Why choose to communicate in a way that can lead to misunderstandings, negative feelings and even conflict? No thanks.

(And if you are worried that without your sarcasm, you won’t be funny- well – maybe you won’t be. But look at the bright side – at least now, you won’t be known as the “sarcastic jerk from human resources”.)

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