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Lead, Love and Connect with Others

“No man is an island; no man stands alone… Each man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved with mankind…”
— John Donne (English Poet)

To be or not to be honest and transparent that is the question, whether it is nobler to live truthfully with others or to quietly deceive ourselves, that is the question… ok, I may not be a poet, but you get the point, we all need each other to succeed in life.

One of the greatest indicators of leadership character is seen in our actions and reactions with people in times of crisis. Our behavior in times of stress has a direct impact on our relationships with others and vice versa.

Connecting Leaders Demonstrate Interdependence

When it comes to leadership, we need to connect with people on a deeper than surface level, we need to love people for who they are and know how to successfully interact with them. Getting along well in business as in life requires mutual respect and transparency. Leaders cannot afford to be oversensitive and disconnected.

Psychology Professor John Cacioppo has said,

“To grow to adulthood as a social species, including humans, is not to become autonomous and solitary, it’s to become the one on whom others can depend,” and the survival of organizations depends on leadership.

Connecting Leaders Demonstrate Emotional Maturity

Leaders like anyone else are affected by the words and actions of others. If we as leaders allow ourselves to be polarized by the opinions of others, we end up walking on eggshells when we’re with them, doing this deprives us of the freedom to express ourselves and add value to them. Immaturity is a hindrance to leaders and those they lead.

Some leaders choose to ignore what people think and end up disconnecting altogether, leading to even more misunderstandings, this of course is another display of immaturity.

Connecting Leaders Understand Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.” (1)

Psychologist Daniel Goleman says,

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions.”

Connecting Leaders Take Risks to Connect with Others

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”
— Alfred Lord Tennyson

We as leaders have a direct impact on the emotional makeup of every member on our teams. Connecting leaders lead by a love for people and understand the risks involved in making connections. Love requires trust and trust requires honesty and honesty makes us vulnerable. The risk of being vulnerable is heartbreak.

C. S. Lewis says it well,

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Connecting Leaders take the risk because the outcomes of adding value to people far outweigh those risks, I encourage you to do the same, love lead and connect with others and you’ll become a stronger person for it.

(1) Psychology Today – Emotional Intelligence

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

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