The Connected Leader

How does attachment play out at work? If workers feel valued, heard, and safe, they are more productive. People often choose to work for a company for less pay in order to be in a supportive and fulfilling work environment. Pulling to- gether all of her education and experience, a Harvard MBA, a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, a Bachelor of Science from Parsons School of Design, and a member of a blended family, Trevor Crow has developed a world view on the importance of relationships. A coauthor of the book Forging Healthy Connections: How Relationships Fight Illness, Aging and Depression, she has written extensively on attachment and how companies can show they value employ- ees and acknowledge them. Crow dives deeper into attachment and leadership, referring to psychologist Mary Ainsworth’s attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and chaotic. It is through the “attachment lens” that Crow helps us see that the attachment style of management can have an effect on the workplace. In her article “Workplace Leadership: Emotional Connection Leads to Higher Employee Productivity,” she of- fers the following definitions of leadership attachment styles.

  1. Secure: Shares Excellent mentors. Solve problems with team approach. Addresses emotion- al underpinnings of situations.
  2. Anxious: Can’t share Micro-manages proj- ects, fears mentoring.
  3. Avoidant: Can’t connect emotionally to Goal-oriented and project-focused.
  4. Chaotic: “Come to me, go away” leadership May react kindly or nastily.22

We must be secure leaders in order to have secure work- ers, and in that security lies connectivity. While figuring out our own attachment style, which is something we develop through nurturing as children, is beyond the scope of this book, it is important to be aware of how we lead, especially when stressed, and to understand that we fit into these styles. Awareness is key when it comes time to take a hard look at what we are doing wrong and what we can do better. Management is tough business, certainly not something that comes easi- ly to everyone. Perhaps by viewing leadership through this special lens of connection—how deeply and emotionally you connect—will help you begin to instill the connection culture that makes the currency of kindness so valuable.