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Are You Connecting or Controlling?

“Authority is not a power, it is a responsibility.” - Amit Kalantri Are you connecting with people, or controlling them? How well do you get along with family, friends, coworkers (superiors and subordinates)? How would they say they get along with you? Who you are determines how well you relate to people, and that will determine the effectiveness of your leadership. Positive things happen when we’re connecting with people. Connecting leaders empower their people, allowing them the freedom to function with limited supervision. Controlling leaders tend to over manage their people, restricting their freedom to function effectively on their own. Controlling leaders have people with a limited view of how their work contributes to the overall purpose of the organization; because they feel the need to be involved with every detail and in on every decision. Connecting leaders have people with a broad understanding of how their work contributes to the overall purpose of the organization; because they’ve trained and empowered them to manage the details, and be responsible enough to make decisions. Below are some words that reveal the differing mindset between Connecting and controlling leaders. Connecting Controlling Empower Empire Releasing Restricting Receiving Rejecting Complying Complaining Macro Micro Cohesive Coercive Commending Commanding “Control and manipulation are not love; the outcome is a life of imprisonment ultimately leading to deep-rooted feelings of resentment.” - Ken Poirot Controlling Controlling leaders will tend to function from a Positional level of leadership. They relate to their people from a place of authority. Their team will often be subjected to intimidation and/or threats to comply with their desires. Their disconnect with others, will eventually create a culture of survival within their organization. To keep their jobs, the people will cooperate because they have to, and their level of productivity will rise no higher than what’s required. “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand” John C. Maxwell Connecting Connecting with people fosters a family like culture, it strengthens the relationship between you and your team. When your people feel trusted and respected they will willingly go the extra mile for you. This happens because connecting with people satisfies two of the greatest human needs; a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose. Leaders must connect with their teams to be effective. Some organizations prefer leaders with some coaching capabilities, because the experience strengthens relationships. That’s not a bad idea, when you consider that coaches must connect with their clients to be effective. That isn’t a new idea either; A recent study noted that developing leaders to be effective coaches is critical. They asked; “What are the most critical priorities for improving leadership capabilities over the next one to two years. The top answer (57%) was developing leaders to be effective development coaches. [1] If you as a leader have coaching capabilities, or have been coached in the past, you have a powerful connecting tool in your leadership toolbox. I highly recommend having one or both coaching experiences. If you haven’t, here are three tips to help you start connecting with your people. “If you want to be an effective leader, you must lead from your heart and connect with your people” -JSP Tip #1 - Be a Humble Leader Keep in mind that leadership is a privilege not a right, and that privilege is given by permission of the people you lead. Be committed to your personal growth, and never pass up an opportunity to learn something from the people who follow you. Tip #2 - Love the People You Lead Effective leaders add value to people. The golden rule is the surest way to the top with your people. Treat them as you wish to be treated. Respect and appreciate them the way you would like them to respect and appreciate you. Never take them for granted. Tip #3 - Create a Culture of Honor Catch people doing something right. Celebrate their successes, give encouragement and positive constructive advice when they fail. Like you, they too have feelings, and dreams of being successful. Be loyal and committed to them one hundred percent.

[1] State of Leadership Development 2015: The Time to Act is Now By: Laci Loew (VP and Principal Analyst/Talent Management) Brandon Hall Group August 2015

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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