Camaraderie is a rarely used French word in business circles within France.
At school, it means friendship. At work, it means solidarity between union members.
It is never used to describe relationships in business.
I was very surprised the first time I heard my American partner Marty talking about camaraderie in a business context.
The meaning of Camaraderie
I looked for a dictionary definition. It’s a feeling of friendliness towards and bond with people with whom one works or share an experience.
I asked Marty to describe the significance of camaraderie for Americans. I was astonished when he used another French word to explain the definition of camaraderie among a group of people: “Esprit de corps”.
This phrase is not commonly used in the US and generally refers to morale or feeling of solidarity in athletic or military circles (like comradeship), although it’s fairly close to camaraderie. In the US, camaraderie is a very common word used to describe the relationship among people who spend time together that produces alignment of interests and purpose.
We have both observed that on two sides of the Atlantic, employees have faced major dislocation from their workplaces, colleagues, managers, clients, business friends, suppliers, team members and common activities.
Spontaneous activities are now all relegated to planned Zoom/Team meetings, arranged phone calls, text messages and emails.
In addition, new hires have not had an opportunity to get to know other people within their organization with whom they typically would interact. Technology has changed and many employees have not had the opportunity to be informed, trained or use the new ones.
Of course, all of these pressures are incremental to their personal feelings of isolation, sickness or death among friends and family, fears about getting sick, worries about getting the best vaccination and the limits on travel or even going out to a restaurant.
Countries are now beginning to reopen at various rates and in differing stages.
Camaraderie, a solution to our losses ?
As it is time to shift to a post pandemic world, a big challenge for leaders is to rebuild the backbone connecting all employees and renew camaraderie or esprit de corps (depending on one’s use of those words) so that organizations can restore their focus on healing the losses of the past 15 months.
The call to generate bonding and alignment is now stronger than it has ever been to restart our inner engines.
To schedule meeting to discuss how Camaraderie can impact your productivity, contact Emmanuel and Marty: