3 Ways Busy Leaders Master Connection
It’s not rude to yell, “Get out!” when the house is burning down. But when everything’s a crisis, you’re just a jerk running around with your hair on fire.
Frantic busyness makes you less productive when achieving results is an excuse to treat people like tools.
3 ways busy leaders master connection:
The person in authority is responsible to connect and strengthen relationships. Don’t wait for people to connect with you.
Connecting makes good sense. Who will bring their best? The person who feels connected to you or the person who feels minimized by you?
Frantic leaders look down when they walk because they don’t have time for you.
#2. Tiny bids:
Make tiny bids to connect* with e-mails, text messages, and during brief conversations.
Connecting is done in tiny moments, not dramatic gestures.
- Send a text before someone leads a meeting. “Have a great meeting.”
- Say, “I noticed you going the extra mile with that upset customer.”
- Write, “How are things going?” when you know someone is under stress.
Distance is unproductive, even if connecting takes a little time. Leverage daily interactions to strengthen connection.
You scratch your dog’s ears and rub her belly when you get home. She’s excited to see you.
Be glad to see people and they will be glad to see you. But if you don’t have time for people, they won’t have time for you.
People tend to snarl at leaders who ignore them.
12 bids to connect in 5 words or less:
- This looks challenging.
- I’m not sure.
- What are you working on?
- Would you lend a hand?
- What’s working?
- Tell me more.
- What do you think?
- Why did you enjoy that?
- What’s important to you?
- What aspirations do you have?
- You’re really good at ….
- I’m sorry.
What prevents leaders from creating and strengthening connection?
How might busy leaders connect with team members?
*The idea of a bid to connect comes from Dr. John Gottman.
From taskmaster to leader: Learn the 4 ways to drive results through relationships (SmartBrief)
Results vs. relationship: why you need both for balanced leadership (Insperity)
Leveraging relationships for results (ATD)
So you want me to rub my employee’s belly!
🙂 … Some attention is better than no attention. Maybe just a pat on the back.
Relationships are so very important whether or not it’s between leader and direct report. The strong relationships involve genuine interest in the other person’s stories. Caring enough to want to hear them and to actually hear them, responding appropriately – even if only briefly, strengthens relationships AND motivates proactive engagement.
If the other person is engaged, there’s almost certainly a reason behind their story. Dismissing it out of hand or, even worse, not hearing it really will negatively impact the relationship and the proactive engagement!
The stories AND the reasons behind them must be understood and addressed in all relationships, most especially between leader and direct report. Proactive, creative engagement (and increased likelihood of successful outcomes) hinge on that understanding and response to it.
Thanks JC. So glad you added your insight. The cool thing about this is it doesn’t take long to hear someone’s story.
You might respond to someone’s story by saying, “I wonder if xyz is important to you.” Let them know you’re interested in knowing them.
In a crisis, we found that quick followups, as you stated, are very helpful. We would include the outside team members-lawyers and bankers- as well, especially the junior staffers who were working long hours on our behalf. It could be a call with a voicemail or nowadays a text but it was always appreciated.
Thanks Brad. You made me think that if we want quick action then quick follow-up makes perfect sense.
Another gem thanks Dan, I also see this so related to the recent topics of trust and empowerment. Trust seems to be the most fleeting, fragile yet desired gemstone in an organisation yet “the system” is constantly at odds with developing it. Yet we are “the system” and can impact it, one interaction at a time.
Thanks Greg. It seems like it’s pretty hard to connect with people when we are hoarding power or violating trust. Glad you brought these together for us.
Thank you for the SmartBrief link, Dan! Always happy to see Joel’s writing and insight shared with folks.
My pleasure, James! Joel is awesome!
Very helpful tips + here’s some more: ask follow-up questions to demonstrate that you are interested in what the other person is saying, plus it supports a path towards finding a mutually interest. Also, be specific as it spurs credibility and memorability
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