Connect or Die
No wonder your office feels like a morgue. You connect with vendors and clients but not with your receptionist, employees, or colleagues. It’s all business with coworkers but you send notes, make calls, and take clients to lunch.
Bosses who mouth the words, “We’re family here,”
but stand aloof are hypocrites.
Leaders nod with knowing smiles when you say leading is about relationships. But, faces go blank and heads stop nodding when you ask, “What are you doing to connect with people inside your organization?” It gets worse when you ask, “What are you doing to help people connect with each other?”
Connections create vibrancy; disconnections death.
I’ll never forget the one word of advice I got from Henry Mintzberg, “Connect.”
- Rush. “Important” people don’t have time to connect.
- Close doors.
- Talk first.
Connecting within your organization:
- Invest in employees as if they were clients. Take them to lunch, for example.
- Small talk is big. Invite people to share personal information. Ask about the kids.
- Walk into their office as if it was a client’s office. Look for personal items and use them for connecting points.
- Dedicate time to connecting by asking people to share something from their lives at the beginning of meetings. It might feel weird at first but in time they’ll look forward to it.
- Practice personal openness. Share your story.
- Brag about them in front of them.
- Acknowledge emotional states. “You seem excited today. Did something good happen?”
Put your money where your mouth is. Focus your “connecting skills” toward insiders.
You can’t fake this one. Connect intentionally and authentically.
How can leaders connect with people inside their organizations?
How can leaders help people connect with each other?