Why Should Leaders Strive For Connections?

When we take a deep look into the interactions of leaders in the workplace, we often zero in on how others see us. Are we viewed as self-absorbed leaders, addressing only our personal agendas and goals or are we perceived as inclusive, eager to support the ideas and opinions of others? Do our teams sense our devotion to them or do they feel disconnected and not part of a bigger vision? Are we purposefully tuning into others and working hard to make genuine bonds?  Why should leaders strive for connections?

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If connecting with others essentially gives purpose to our lives, why don’t we make that a first priority? When we build meaningful relationships, we create a highly functional team, where team members feel appreciated and valued.  When we link with one another in a respectful way, we morph into a team of trust and transparency. These are all great reasons for leaders to form healthy connections. So how does leadership go about cultivating significant connections?

 1.    Be vulnerable- It is critical that leaders allow themselves to be seen as they really are. We are authentic leaders when we let others see all sides of us.

2.    Be imperfect- We all have imperfections, but we are all not able to be honest about what they are. When we share our imperfections with others, we are allowing them to see us as real people and leaders.

3.    Be caring- Show our team members that we are interested in what they have to say. Listen with open ears and open minds. Even if we disagree with an idea, try not to interrupt until they are finished. Ask clarifying questions in order to display appreciation for all their hard work.

4.    Be a mentor- I bet most of us can point out the extraordinary mentors in our personal and professional lives who made a difference. Their impact on a path we chose or a decision we made will never be forgotten. Always be the mentees biggest fan, while offering honest feedback.

5.    Be present- There is nothing more frustrating to people than to think we are not focusing on being with them. When our minds drift to the past or the future or just to another place, we are putting the connection into a less worthy place.

 Lead with the intent to foster strong connections with people in our workplaces and in our professional and personal worlds. How do you make connections?

 

12 thoughts on “Why Should Leaders Strive For Connections?

  1. It is so true Dan, that connecting with others is what leadership is essentially about. As leaders we can be most influential when we cultivate authentic and meaningful relationships.That requires us to be vulnerable and honest. Thanks again for your wonderful comments!

  2. It seems the pull of the industrial age to treat people like machines still has a grip on organizational cultures. The good news is that this is transforming. The more business leaders like you who talk about the power and practice of connecting the better! Great article.

  3. Thanks so much Susan for offering your insightful comments about making connections. Your word choice of “the power and practice of connecting” is an excellent addition to my post because there is a powerful outcome for leaders when they are authentic in connecting with others.I would also like to give you a shout out for your mention in the magazine- “Training and Development”. Kudos for that!

  4. Terri,
    The real biggie, I think, is #5 BE PRESENT. ALL THERE.

    Otherwise, what are you doing? Blowing someone and their thoughts, ideas and feelings off… it hurts. Not only the person you are doing it to, but yourself. Because when you look, they will be gone. Online or real life- Poof! Gone… no one wants to be hurt, ignored.

    Thanks for the great reminder, Terri.

  5. I so appreciate all of your comments and additions, Amber-Lee! Being present is sometimes the hardest thing to do when we are constantly multi-tasking and adding more to our daily routines. But, taking the time to focus and really connect with someone is so essential. When we feel that others are not invested in us, we can become disconnected. Thanks again!

  6. Terri – What a wonderful post! I think that the one that calls to me the most is “be imperfect”. Perfection is an illusion that makes us self-centric because it’s all about how we’re seen instead of focusing on the connection with the people on our team. Imperfection is what makes us human and when leaders show up as human, equal to the others on their teams, that’s when true relationships are possible. Thanks, Terri!

  7. Thanks Alli for your wonderful support and sharing your insights on imperfection. When are team members see all of our sides, including our weaknesses, our leadership becomes even more genuine and authentic. When that happens, you are so right that relationship building truly commences. I am so happy that we have connected.

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