Are You Connecting?
Henry Kissinger once said, "The task of the leader is to get his/her people from where they are to where they have not been." How can we help our coworkers be successful here in the present—and move with us towards a better future? A big key for us as leaders is to build strong connections with people.
How can we build strong connections and earn trust so that we can effectively influence our people to be successful? Let me share 10 principles that can help you connect well with people:
1. Commit to connecting. The starting place for developing stronger connections with people is to make a conscious choice to do so. Do you really want to connect better? If yes, then commit to taking intentional steps to build deeper connections. The other principles will give you ideas to consider.
2. Develop a genuine care for people. We can only connect well with people when we value and care for them. We need to not take people for granted and let them know we care and appreciate them. Valerie Elster reminds us that "expressing gratitude is a natural state of being and reminds us that we are all connected."
Every person is important, as Bill McCartney emphasizes when he says, "Anytime you devalue people, you question God's creation of them." Part of caring for people is to be honest, genuine and transparent. Let people see your heart of caring and compassion—and they will respond and feel closer to you. One of my often used quotes is, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
3. Be proactive. Initiate movement towards them. It's tempting to sit back and let others try to connect with us. But as leaders we need to be proactive and take the initiative. Management experts Tom Peters and Nancy Austin concluded that "the number one managerial problem in America is, quite simply, managers are out of touch with their people and out of touch with customers."
Related story: Are You A Trustworthy Manager?
Wes Friesen is a proven leader and developer of high performing teams and has extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. A former in-plant manager, he is also an award-winning university instructor and speaker, and is the president of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training. His book, Your Team Can Soar! contains 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you, and give you practical pointers to help you—and your team—soar to new heights of performance. Your Team Can Soar! can be ordered from Xulonpress.com/bookstore or wesfriesen.com. Wes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.