Leadership has everything to do with how you relate to others and the powerful connections of those relationships. The higher up you go in any organization, the more your relational skills you need as a leader.
One of the questions that I hear from managers that get 360 degree feedback from the people they lead, is whether they have the ability to make connections beyond just their level of competence.
These connections are very powerful because they go beyond just the manager and the employee relationship.
In fact, if you look around, we are all impacted by the connections around us. Whether you are part of a community, a company or just socializing with people across the globe-you are connecting in some way or another.
Great leaders create a “connection economy” around them. The connection economy rewards value created by building relationships and fostering powerful connections.
The industrial economy valued more, better, faster, whereas the connection economy builds on who you know, what you know and how those relationships influences your connections with people.
As leaders, by definition, we accomplish our goals through other people, and yet how easy it is to lose sight of that, to focus on the amount of work — the tasks, the results, the work to be completed. The irony is, the more you focus on the quality of those connections, the greater your results is likely to be.
As leaders, how do we make those powerful connections and keep them alive?
Find a common ground
Those who connect successfully in the face of difference have a fundamental belief in commonality. They believe that there’s always something people have in common. While others may walk away, and give up on making a connection, great connectors hang in there because they believe that, if they just endure, they can certainly find common ground.
Curiosity leads to flexibility, which is essential not only for connecting but for survival in today’s complex global changing business environment. Successful connectors have the ability to notice something unique about someone and ask questions to keep the conversation going.
Curiosity is good for you. The staff of Psychology Today reports that curiosity is one of the top five qualities of people who are most satisfied in life.
Consider other people’s point of view
Changing perspective can improve the quality of your connections. Those who connect well, shift perspective, seeing situations from different lenses. This skill is particularly helpful when we face challenges to connecting, when our biases get in the way, when we are having difficulty understanding someone, or when tempers flare.
When difficult conversations arise, skilled connectors look for a way around it. They change perspective by mentally stepping out of their own convictions to observe the interaction as if they were outside observers.
This isn’t the kind of thing that we usually take the time to think about. It’s a psychological skill, something that happens entirely on the inside.
But having the flexibility to look at your situation from a different angle can sometimes give you the ability to develop more and better choices for how to approach it in a healthy way toward another individual.
Each time you move to another perspective, you get valuable information, your judgment improves, and you grow wiser.