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?
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?