Lead by Seeing Through the Eyes of Those Who Are Led
A position of leadership can often be lonely even though the most effective leaders share the ability to connect with people at every level of the organization. That connection requires an investment of time, energy and emotion — and it’s worth it. The return is exponential.
Getting to know your team on a personal level, with appropriate boundaries, builds trust and fuels synergy. Vulnerability and transparency from a leader sets a tone in the organization that it’s a safe place to take risks and grow, while being approachable promotes a healthy organizational culture of communication.
Once relationships and trust are established, people in the organization are able to ask questions and express concerns without fear. The experience and insight of each employee has the opportunity to provide invaluable feedback regarding the effectiveness of the organization.
As a leader, one must see through the eyes of those who are led, and listen to people at every level of the organization from the custodian to the executive. Feedback becomes most effective when it’s holistic in nature, and listening to understand must precede the need to be understood.
People feel valued when leaders take the time to connect and listen — and feeling valued also motivates them. It’s a leader’s responsibility to acknowledge and affirm them, as this inspires them to reach their potential. When a leader sees the successes of others, she should speak to those successes. Whether publicly or privately, everybody wants the boss to recognize hard work. Beyond motivation, this recognition also positively shapes the company’s culture.
Take a moment to reflect on the power of connection in your leadership role. How well do you know those you lead? Are you familiar with the personal motivations and goals of each of your employees? How often do you take time to ask the right questions and listen? Do your employees view you as approachable? In what ways do you acknowledge and celebrate the successes of individuals in your organization?
The power of connection in leadership is this simple: connect, listen and affirm.
By Amber Todd