A person can acquire all the knowledge and skills needed to make an extraordinary impact on those around you, but you will not realize your full potential unless you get out and interact with people. Leadership is influencing others.
Three essential principles are:
Connection ~ Communication ~ Collaboration
Connecting with people on a personal level makes them feel you cared for. John Maxwell said that the heart comes before the head when working with people. Relationship building is getting to know the individual by developing solid bonds which build loyalty.
Building relationships starts with remembering a person’s name and finding shared interests. Ask about their family and hobbies. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Building connections takes time. The challenge we all face is that we all feel stretched for time. How often have you thought of someone and then realized an entire day or week went by, and you haven’t reached out to them? We all do it. I learned this lesson long ago the value of acting on those thoughts when they occur. Leaders who excel at connection multiply their impact.
Why is it so challenging to develop this trait if communication is natural? Today in the age of information, we are inundated with knowledge, but there is a trend where there is less and less effective communication. Genuine dialogue is one of the most powerful relationship-building tools, and the way to start is to ask open-ended questions. We do not read minds, and it is the responsibility of everyone to communicate and make sure they are understood. What is heard is not always what was said. Everyone needs to develop the skill of communicating better, and this starts with listening to understand.
Communication is the most powerful leadership tool you have. However, being an effective communicator must be practiced and improved daily. This includes knowing how to read individuals and groups, asking open-ended questions, listening to understand, and keeping eye contact.
Dale Carnegie said, “you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Collaborative leaders need to accept and pivot with change. Communication is essential to share the vision and engage others. Leaders know how to leverage the talents of others, creating an environment where people feel safe to share their ideas.
The beauty of connection, communication, and collaboration is that we have the opportunity to enrich and deepen our relationships daily as well as gain new relationships.
By, Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director / CEO