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:

#1. Responsibility:

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.

#3. Treat people like dogs.

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:

  1. This looks challenging.
  2. I’m not sure.
  3. What are you working on?
  4. Would you lend a hand?
  5. What’s working?
  6. Tell me more.
  7. What do you think?
  8. Why did you enjoy that?
  9. What’s important to you?
  10. What aspirations do you have?
  11. You’re really good at ….
  12. 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.

Bonus material:

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)