Three Tips for “Connecting” with People


“People are too complicated to have simple labels.”
― Philip Pullman


Most leaders agree that the events of last year have underscored the need to stay connected with the people we work with and serve. When connections are strong, companies and teams thrive; and just the opposite when connections are weak. Staying “connected” under stress isn’t easy, as some companies have discovered. However, here are a few tips that any leader can use when making meaningful connections with people.

  1. Define Reality – This may be job #1 for leaders. To improve anyone’s and everyone’s situation leaders must start with the current reality – clarifying the specific good, bad or somewhere in between. However, getting people to accept reality (thus connecting with them), requires not just stating what you believe to be true, but asking others for their thoughts, ideas, fears and assurances, in a collective effort to reach mutual understanding. Most people, when treated with genuine respect and dignity, can and want to understand the truth. If you also let people know you value them, they will connect with you.
  1. Reach Out and Go Big – Reaching out is much more than simply asking questions and showing interest. It’s offering BIG HELP! – help that is distinctly meaningful, timely and useful to the recipients. Challenging times require frequent, bold, broadscale, all-embracing help. Don’t worry about how others on the sidelines will respond to it. Go big, get it out there, and find even more ways (once is not enough) to help. You will make lasting connections with people if they know you’re willing to make a sacrifice for their greater good.
  2. Tell Your Story – People make deep connections with those they know and understand. Let people get to know and understand you by telling your story. Not just your vision and goals (both important) but also your successes and failures, discomforts and challenges, strengths and weaknesses, lessons learned. Take the time (frequently) to put yourself out there with your sincere authentic self. Then, invite others to tell their stories … and spend even more time listening to them.

Essentially, being connected means sharing a purpose with someone who really cares … about me or us. Successful leaders know that “relationships rule”, and are intentional about making connections that will stand the test of time. They use their head and heart while practicing the above actions, and by going deep!

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