Businesses are collections of people working together. We have to drive change with that in mind. Unless you are able to make strong connections, change will stall and fail.
Here is what you need to build strong healthy connections.
Building connections requires intention and purpose. In your busy life, you have to have a clear intention of making connections if you are going to give any time to it. Then you can make it a point every day to start building those connections both through electronic means and in person.
Strong connections develop over time. They are not achieved overnight. You will get what you are willing to put into the relationship. You have to be willing to stop multitasking and give your whole attention to the person you want to connect with.
Avoid disrespectful words and actions. Listen without interrupting. Answer texts without interrupting with your own concerns. Respect the time of others and their needs.
Connections require mutuality, give and take, a flowing exchange. Give without expectations and ask for what you need. Share what’s happening in your life. If you need special support, ask for it. Share what benefits you can offer and which ones you expect. State what challenges you need help with.
Show yourself as you are and accept others as they are. Don’t walk around with a mask. Certainly electronic mediums makes it easier to hide the real us. But if you relate with authenticity and make others feel comfortable without judge them, it will be easier for them to be alsoauthentic.
What people say, the words that come out of their mouth, is just a tiny fraction of what they are communicating. Discover the real message which has more to do with why the conversation is happening. You can discover together the real meaning and value, if you listen carefully and share purposefully. You can also discover the questions that concern you both and the issues that perplex you. Keep inquiring of each other until you can be sure you understand each other. One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of listening to understand.
Real connection requires humility and the willingness to be vulnerable. Unfortunately too many of today’s leaders have been trained in authority and certitude first. Acknowledge what you don’t know. Be radically honest. Share what you really think and feel. Connection is made when we can share and relate to the universal struggles we all face and are honest about it.
Think of alternative ways to connect. For example, what if every leader had a business texting hotline with one designated person to receive and distribute to the proper person urgent messages from clients and workers? How would this contribute to a more connected organization? What if once a month you made it a point to have lunch with a small group of your workers and "picked their brains" for ideas and concerns? Keep thinking of other "what if's" scenarios that can bring more connection.
Remember. . .
It’s through mutual sharing that the connection and bond forms and takes shape. Truth, honesty, openness serve as the cohesive materials that make up the connecting bonds. Lead the way to open your heart to connection and people will follow you, including following you through implementing effectively needed change.
I f you are interested in learning more about how to lead through conversations that build connections, ask for my FREE article: Leading Through Conversations.