Good leaders work at connecting with others all of the time, whether they are communicating to an entire organization or working with a single individual. The stronger the relationship you form with them, the more the connection and the more they are more likely to assist you along the way. You develop credibility with people when you connect with them and are genuinely attracted to them.
“If something is going to affect your life, it’s best to know as much as you can about it”. Donald J. Trump
“It’s one thing to communicate to people because you believe you have something of value to say. It’s another to communicate with people you believe they have value”. John C. Maxwell
Before putting this article together, I have done researches as to how successful leaders connect and communicate. I will be making a lot of references from blogs, books and speeches on the topic of discussion. The quality of leadership is one of the key drivers of success.
How do you connect with people? One key to connecting with others is recognizing that even in a group, you have to relate to people as individuals. General Norman Schwarzkopf once said, “I have seen competent leaders who stood in front of a platoon and all they saw was a platoon. But great leaders stand in front of a platoon and see it as forty-four individuals, each of whom has aspirations, each of whom wants to live, each of whom wants to do good”.
I ask again how do you connect? Whether you are speaking in front of a large audience or chatting with friends, these principles of successful leaders should guide you.
Success Attributes of Business Leaders
Connect with yourself first
You must have confidence in yourself and know who you are to connect with people you desire. If you don’t believe in who you are and what you want, you’ve got to work on that before anything else. As the popular saying goes, “People don’t heed the call of an uncertain trumpet”.
Bill Walsh once said, “Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise, and nothing is more lame than a cookie-cutter compliment”. Communication is a very necessary tool in connecting people and you need to build a strong communication anywhere and at any time. In Forbes “10 Communication Secrets Of Great Leaders”, Mike Myatt notes that “it is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. I hope you noticed the previous sentence didn’t refer to being a great talker – big difference!”. It is the ability to develop a keen external awareness that separates the truly great communicators from those who muddle through their interactions with others.
Know your audience
Let me ask you, how many of your followers do you know their names? When you work with individuals, it’s pertinent to know everything about them – their names, life histories, and their dreams. And when you work with a team, you should learn about their names, values, and believes in the organization. When it comes to trust, loyalty, respect and openness, lead by example. Outstanding leaders attribute success to their teams, not to themselves.
Walk your talk
Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a leader is to practice what you preach. That’s how people begin to notice how credible you are as their leader. Successful leaders understand that to tackle the most demanding situations and problems, they need to draw on everything they have learned in their lives. A lot of leaders say one thing to their followers and do another. Such leaders never last.
Be close to them
John C. Maxwell once remarked, as a communicator, I dislike any kind of barrier to communication. I don’t like to be too far from my audience or too high above them on a stage. And I definitely don’t want any physical barriers between me and the people…Whether I’m speaking from a stage or sitting across from someone in my office, I try to speak the other person’s language, to get to that person. I try to be attuned to others’ culture, background, education, and so on. I adapt to others; I don’t expect them to adapt to me.
Focus on them, not yourself
Focus on your followers, not yourself. They are the real reason you are a leader in the first place. Remember, “If you are leading and no one is following, you are only taking a walk”. This is the number one problem associated with inexperienced leaders. You will always connect faster when you focus on followers. You won’t have the best of your followers if lose faith in who and what they do. The aim here is to make each of the feel valuable and respected.
Be a leader
People expect leaders to help them get where they want to go. They want leaders that will show the direction. Many great leaders do that but the ineffective ones don’t. That is not the true spirit of leadership. If your followers don’t feel safe and confident in you, they will raise another leader for themselves behind your back. I know you wouldn’t want that. Therefore, live up to expectations as a leader and your followers would be proud of you.
Focus on sustainable long-term performance. Be aware of the need for change, then with your team, make it happen. Get staff to deliver long-term and help build loyalty among one another.
I am the Founder and President of Young Leaders Arena. Formerly I was the Chief Editor and program co-ordinator at Walktall. Author of the upcoming Book; Success Recipe: Start up Tool-kit for exceptional business growth. I have written numerous articles on both leadership, business start up, entrepreneurship. I have served as thought leader in many societies and organisations, including the Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I obtained my post graduate from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. I also have a Bachelors from the Delta State University, Abraka. Twitter & Instagram: @Charlessholokwu