Leadership: Planned Connections
The best leaders understand that great employees are connected to their work and those around them. They have genuine care and value for the excellent completion of their assigned tasks. These employees work hard to improve their abilities and often find more effective or efficient methods of getting the job done. They become masters of the tasks assigned to them. Employees who have this connection are more likely to be promoted to management and leadership roles, but that does not mean they have the necessary skills to succeed as the leader of a team and use planned connections to relate to their team. Often, they remain more closely connected to their old tasks than their new role of managing the individuals who now perform those tasks. They remain a taskmaster rather than connecting to their new role as a team leader.
Leaders must have planned connections to connect to their team members and must make them their new passion. They cannot just maintain a high value for the completion of tasks. Additionally, they must add value for the people who are now entrusted to complete those tasks. The only way for a leader to be the link between team members and the tasks they must complete is for that leader to connect to both! A disconnected leader is not without hope. Leaders can learn how to develop and maintain these connections through coaching and training.
Personal Interaction to create Planned Connections
The best way to build any relationship is with an investment of time. That may be through phone calls, face to face or video conference meetings or any number of ways to interact. However, without an intentional investment of time towards relationship-building, genuine connections will never materialize. Leaders can’t view the time spent building those relationships as a waste of time. Asking a personal question about values, abilities, and passions to begin a meeting might be a great place to start.
Not all of these planned connections and interactions have to take place at work, however. Leaders often connect with their team members outside of work as well. Perhaps through office parties or simple invitations to watch a show or game as a group after work occasionally. The critical thing to note is that most planned connections and time spent making a closer connection to your team members is time well spent.
A positive relationship with their boss or manager is essential to employees, and a lack of it is one of the most sure-fire ways to end up with high turnover issues. Harvard Business Review encouraged their readers to, “consider what you don’t know about the coworkers you see every day — What motivates them? Why did they join the company? What do they hope to accomplish in the future? — and set aside time to find out.”
Understanding team member abilities and values, as well as relevant facts about their personalities, will help you connect them to the mission your company has entrusted you to achieve. You cannot do it alone, and you cannot do it with a disconnected team.