“Leadership is Influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less” one of my favorite quotes by John Maxwell. This article is an introduction to a series of articles designed around the teachings of John C. Maxwell on what it means to be a great leader. As a certified behavioral consultant on the John Maxwell Team, I am excited about sharing some key concepts to becoming or growing as an effective leader.
When you truly connect with people there is a sense of trust and people will open up with you. It is not enough to work hard or do a great job. I know because I was that person who gave 110% and never felt appreciated. I learned that to communicate effectively, I needed to connect. To connect we need the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases our influence with them. As I think back on my career in the credit union industry, my greatest challenges were when I was not connected. I knew what I wanted, and I focused on getting things done. My way may have been a good option but, because I did not “connect” with those around me, I struggled early on to get “buy-in” from my peers and supervisors. Learning to connect with all people at all points in my life has been an ongoing process, as it will be with you.
To communicate and influence people in all phases of our life, we want to learn how to connect. The ability to connect with others begins with taking our eyes off ourselves and placing them on others. Let me ask you, have you ever fallen into one of these situations:
- I give 100% everyday but I remain stuck while everyone around me is moving forward.
- That promotion really belonged to me; I do not understand why they did not select me.
- My husband/wife never seems to understand me.
- My supervisor never agrees with anything that I want to do.
The problem is you are not connected and therefore you have no positive influence over those individuals. This is a hard pill to swallow but it is the first step to changing how you think. Learning to connect is a skill requiring practice. You will not wake up tomorrow and be there, but when practiced consistently, it will improve your effectiveness as a leader, a coach, a parent, or a friend. Once you learn to connect with others, you will be able to communicate more effectively and achieve your desired results.
Zig Ziglar was quoted as saying, “If you will first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” If you are a leader, make your team your highest priority. How well do you really know them? When you have challenges “connecting” with them, stop, think, and listen. Are they the problem or is it that you are not “connecting”?
Over the next series of blogs, I will share some insight into how you can improve your ability to relate to others simply by connecting with them. Once you master this skill, you are well on your way to becoming an effective communicator and a person of influence!
For more information on understanding how to connect, watch my future blogs as we discuss the following practical skills:
- Finding common ground
- Making your communication simple
- Capturing people’s interest
- Inspiring them, and
- Being authentic.
We are not born with the natural ability to connect with others so join my journey and learn the skills necessary to become great at connecting with others.
Until next time enjoy the video, be safe and be kind.