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The Unique Bond of Shared History

by | Jun 25, 2024

There’s something uniquely powerful about the bonds formed with childhood friends, family members, and even first co-workers. They have seen you through certain ups and downs, the victories and the struggles of a younger you, a different version not as many people know today. You’ve likely had significant moments, events, and milestones together over the years. This shared history in those relationships creates a certain depth of familiarity, which our research shows is one of the main aspects of trust in our relationships.

But here’s the cool part: you can create a deeper bond among your team. How? Bridging the gap by sharing your work history. When work peers open up about where they’ve been, they invite others into their journey. This shared vulnerability fosters compassion and understanding, connection on a deeper more human level.

Everyone has tales to tell of work wounds from their past along with their truth in the present and their hopes for the future. In our Motives Met Experiences, whether a workshop or offsite, people get to have these meaningful conversations and share what we call their “motive stories.” They have an opportunity to talk about the 28 human needs, what we call motives, that matter most to them at work and why.

A few weeks ago, during one of our workshops, an employee shared a personal story that highlighted the crucial importance of the BELONGING and FAIRNESS motives to her, these motives were among her top 5 motives from our Human Needs Assessment™. She recounted her deep struggles from her previous job—a terror of toxicity, endless conformity, and zero fairness, and the toll it took on her well-being. She expressed genuine gratitude for being part of a team where she felt she could truly let her guard down and be herself. Her story sparked a palpable connection in the room as the conversation unfolded and others shared their histories. They talked about how they wanted their team to be different than others they had worked on. That they felt it already was different while also pinpointing the areas they could still grow on.

Stories Unite Us

Research shows that storytelling is linked with greater mental health and well-being benefits. Our human brains are wired for stories, they help us connect with one another as a human person, not just a “work person.” Stories can help us heal and when we share them, we feel seen and validated. When we hear them, it evokes emotion and expands our compassion and collaboration. Stories are persuasive, a way to get others to understand different perspectives in a way that facts and figures just can’t.

There are so many benefits to sharing and hearing motive stories. You amplify psychological safety. You get the chance to celebrate the good stuff that doesn’t get celebrated enough. Work peers know how to better support one another. Invisible problems become visible and you can solve for the “bad stuff” too. But one thread I’ve seen running through our experiences is the magic of sharing histories. Attendees and leaders have said it’s been transformative. When we share our histories, they don’t just stay in the past; they weave into our present, creating connections that bridge past experiences into strengthened current relationships. It’s not just talking about the past, but using history to shape the future.

So, start sharing your stories! Ask employees and team members what matters most to them at work and why. Ask them to share a positive and negative experience from their work history that has shaped who they are and what they need today.

Are you ready to offer your team something truly impactful? Our expertly designed interactive workshops, webinars, and offsites go beyond the usual team-building activities and typical work get-togethers. Our Motives Met experiences focus on the core human needs that create a thriving culture that employees don’t want to leave!