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Leadership – It’s All About the Connections

The old saying “It’s not what you know but who you know” has some truth to it when it comes to leading people.

Leaders need to know people if they are to be effective. Leaders also need to establish healthy relationships if they plan on a career in leadership. The best leaders have learned how to listen to their teams, their clients, their critics, and other leaders.

Great leaders know what to listen for and who to listen to, and many are excellent conversationalists who are genuinely interested in people. Being genuinely interested in people is non-negotiable when it comes to influencing people, and we know that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.

Investing In People Begins With Investing In Ourselves Warren Buffett says “The most important investment you can make is in yourself” so, it makes sense to add value to yourself if you plan on adding value to others.

Below are 4 Simple Requirements for Building Healthy Relationships:

#1 Be honest with yourself and with others about yourself #2 Have a positive mental attitude in good times and bad #3 Be genuinely interested in people for who they are #4 Know how to choose close friends (not everyone is a good fit)

“I realized that I was trying to get ahead by correcting others when I should have been trying to connect with others” – John C. Maxwell

It Takes Some Good Conversations to Build Strong Connections

Since childhood I’ve always been comfortable in front of people. All through school I enjoyed being on stage acting, singing, and speaking. My insecurity made me a terrible conversationalist, that’s not good for leadership. I had to push beyond my fears and learn how to converse with people one on one.

Here are 5 Things That Have Helped Me Build Connections:

1. The Conversation before the Conversation Before my conversation, I would think through speaking with that person, going over what I wanted to ask or say to them. I would also consider how I would answer possible questions about myself.

2. Constructing the Conversation I’d frame out a conversation in my mind and thought through phrasing my questions in a way that required answers that helped me with follow up questions. Of course, the questions were purposeful and helped me learn more about who I was speaking with, the structure helped keep me at ease.

3. The Conversational Context I learned that connecting with people required me to speak into their world, so I had to learn to understand their frame of reference, which helped me develop some active listening skills.

The more they spoke the more I learned, and the more interested in them I became. My follow up questions became more inquisitive. I found people’s stories fascinating, which made me even more inquisitive.

4. The Targeted Talk I was learning more about people as well as more about myself with each conversation. Wanting to hear more about careers, hobbies, opinions on a variety of subjects, I crafted my questions for general interest at first, to more specific as the conversations went on.

5. Avoid being a Controlling Conversationalist A word of caution here, remember that a conversation runs both ways. I learned that listening is about giving the other person liberty to share their heart naturally, when answering my questions.

At first, I had to exercise patience, allowing the natural flow of the conversation to unfold on its own. The last thing I wanted was our conversation to feel more like an interview.

In allowing myself to be naturally drawn into someone else’s world, opened the door to some amazing long-term connections that would have never happened in any other way. I continue to this day to build relationally because I’ve learned that when it comes to Leadership; It’s all about the connections.

If your available on January 12, 2019, I would love for you to join us at our full day communication boot camp. We will be discussing many of the points highlighted in this article along with many others. Hope you can join us. You can learn more here

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

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