Last week I was getting my hair cut by a lady that I had never been to before.
She asked why I was moving to the area, and what I did for a living. I told her that I was a Leadership Development Coach. I saw that this confused her.
“What exactly do you do with that?” She asked.
I explained in more detail some of the principles that I teach and asked her,
“People rarely quit their jobs, they quite their bosses. If I worked for an amazing leader, I would be perfectly happy shoveling Elephant Dun! have you ever worked for a boss that you didn’t like? Maybe they didn’t make you feel valuable there, didn’t care about you or listen to you…?”
My hairstylist was shocked, “I just left a job two weeks ago because of my boss! I know exactly what you mean…You should call that business and try to get them as a client…” She replied with a laugh.
This little encounter reminded me of something that Dr. John C. Maxwell said in his book, Everyone Communicates Few Connect; Connection within communication creates influence. Influence is leadership. Meaning, you cannot be a good leader if you do not connect with your followers.
The question now posed is; How do I have effective communication?
When I first started mentoring and coaching, there was a young man who desperately wanted to get out of debt and also have consistency in his life. He had sole-custody of his 3-year-old daughter – everything he did in life was for her. Now, I don’t have children and I could only help him understand the importance of implementing our financial principles. I met with him after work day after day to guide him through every step to success. Somehow, I didn’t seem to connect with him. Because of it, I couldn’t get him to keep his appointments, follow through on the steps to take, and felt that he hadn’t been emotionally committed to the mentor-ship. In less than 2 months, he stopped responding to my calls.
That client was lost.
As the years have passed since then, I’ve learned more and continue to learn about connecting. With this young man, I never truly took the time to understand how and why his daughter’s future drove him. I never focused him on that “Why” and I never mentally helped him connect that dream to the steps that I was asking him to take.
Think back to a time when negotiations fell through on a business deal, or you tried to make friends with your brother’s new fiancé…A time that you couldn’t connect with someone. Why do you think it didn’t happen?
Here are some connection strategies to think on:
- Actively Listen. To everyone! This means not thinking about what you’re going to say next or remembering a story that starts distracting you from what the other person is saying. I once indulged in the Gray’s Anatomy TV Show and during one episode, a leading doctor and boss, watched his subordinate walk past him all dressed up for a date. He asked where she was going and who the man was picking her up. She stated that was her husband. Her boss exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were married!” To that she responded, “10 years today!” Moral of the story; Don’t be a boss that knows nothing of their followers because they never actively listened. Learn about others on a higher level and you will find that connecting with them is much easier.
- Remember what they talk about. Especially with small details, such as mentioning their child’s soccer game next Tuesday. On Wednesday, ask them how Bobby’s soccer game went. Showing that you remembered by using a small amount of effort, shows that you value your employee in a big way.
- Always recognize achievements. Be consistent in this and try never to forget it. Recognizing each of your employee’s accomplishments shows that you value what they do. The more they receive recognition for actual work put in, the more often they will do it.
- Set the bar – and then keep it! No exceptions. Communicating to your team what you expect of them and being consistent by not lowering your standards, shows them that you not only have good character and can be trusted, but it also shows them that you believe in each of them and have put your faith in them to help you with accomplishing the big picture. This creates a feeling of value inside everyone.
- Include every employee in the “Big Picture” for the business. I suggest doing this on a monthly basis (or if your company is too large, do this virtually with your managers monthly and ask them to do the same with their teams in person the same day). Remind everyone personally what the business is running for, and how each of their positions and effort are valuable in accomplishing the goal. To build a great team that works together, they need to feel that they are a part of something greater than themselves and how what they do makes a difference in the success.
This is a small portion of connecting principles and ideas on how to implement them. The best leaders spend years learning and implementing communication and connection tactics.
I teach a John Maxwell Certified program around his book, Everyone Communicates Few Connect. If you would like to learn more about connecting with people and communication, contact me at: CustomerService@ShericeKral.com or call me at: 314-624-9772. At the end of this course, you will have the option of receiving a Certificate of Completion.
Remember to enjoy the journey,