Connecting with the people you lead is a fundamental yet critical part of your role as a leader. Remaining distant and disconnected is a recipe for disaster in your organization’s culture. The days of commanding a workforce from an ivory tower are long gone, yet many leaders grew up in those environments and continue to reflect those behaviors to their own demise.
Connection provides real learning and understanding that, when leveraged properly, can help you in your pursuits of helping your team exceed expectations and meet personal or professional goals. Looking at your Leadership Rhythm and how you currently connect with them can provide clues to help you can adjust your behavior to lead them better.
Here are some tips:
Define the time to connect with direct reports. Establish a cadence where you participate in one-on-ones driven by them, where they share what they are proud of and working on. Use a 2x1 structure where they share two positive achievements and one thing they struggle with.
Define the time to connect with the full team. Establish regular town halls where you can hear directly from the team, gather feedback and suggestions, and make commitments. Ensure you follow up on the commitments, providing regular updates along the way.
Define the time to connect internally. Regular commitments to improve or enhance your physical, mental and emotional, or spiritual life will pay you back tenfold and improve your efforts elsewhere.
Here is the truth. Either you connect with your team, or you will lose them. It is the leader’s responsibility, not the team's, to drive this. Understand that they already crave connection in all areas of their roles, but it must be a regular process, driven through your Leadership Rhythm, and not a one-and-done exercise. Your team will notice if you are not authentic with this, so ensure you understand the importance before even beginning.