As a leader it’s pretty easy to be separated from the team. You’re in the separate office? On a different floor? Or even just because you’re out of the office so much pushing the business forward? It’s not an easy job to be a leader. You have to call the shots, make the decisions (especially the ones that some people don’t like) and you have to put your neck on the line.
In those situations and with that kind of responsibility it can be really hard to connect with your team. This can cause them to back off and not engage with you. A true leader, one who inspires and motivates people to drive the business on to greater success, needs to connect with their team. If you can’t engage with your team you can’t lead them. It’s that simple.
So what can you do to increase the connection between your team and you? Well here are my 3 top tips for doing just that.
Make the majority of your transactions about them
Many people’s way of leading is to make all transactions with them (face to face talks, meetings, email, phone calls) about what the leader wants and what the business needs.
I need you to do this.
I need you to do that.
We need you to work on this.
All me, me, me.
Sometimes that needs to done granted but the problem is people have highly tuned in BS detectors and that way of leading will only go so far, even with the best team players. Ultimately everybody in this world wants to know what’s in it for them.
However, if you can make most of your interactions with them about them and what they’ll get from the work you’ll find more people are happy to play along. Instead of using phrases like those above, try these
I really need your help on this because it’s going to move the business forward.
We really want your thoughts on this because if we can land this big client with your help it’ll be a great achievement for you.
Really listen when they talk
Too many leaders can listen but they don’t listen well. There’s a big difference between hearing someone and really listening to them. For most of us in our communications with other people we hear what the other person is saying but we don’t truly listen.
When you hear someone you…
Run your answer through in your head while they’re still talking.
Make mental notes about what you need to talk to so and so about when you see them next.
Worry about what to buy mum for her birthday.
When you really listen you shut off all that stuff and you focus fully with all your powers of concentration on what the other person is actually saying.
The problem most people have with communication is that they miss the critical parts of information they actually need because they’re too busy listening to their own internal self talk. To really connect with your team and to help you find out what they think and what they need, focus on the conversation right in front of you.
Mirror and Match
Have you ever wondered why sometimes when you’re around someone you feel really comfortable with you find yourself acting just like them? Have you noticed that you have similar body language with someone you’re deep in conversation with or who you really click with?
I’m not going to go into why this happens but you’ll know, because it’s happened to you before, that it does. And interestingly, you can use this to your advantage by mirroring and matching the body language of others. When someone you know mirrors or matches your body language, subconsciously you relax and connect with them on a different level. Try it for yourself.
WARNING! Do not make this obvious. Do not continue to experiment with mirroring and matching if it’s clearly making the other person uncomfortable. Do not do this all the time.
Because it’ll freak people out. Do it sensibly and occasionally.
this commercial is a good example of mirroring
by Ben Lumley