Being a Connected Leader is my mantra and my hope and wish for every person who has others in their charge. Gone are the days where you can expect your team and those around you to accept you as you are because you are someone with authority. We’ve very forcefully moved into the heart-centered, human-focused movement where Leaders need to connect with those they are responsible for and dare I say, they also need to connect with their peers and superiors. It’s a giant ask for a lot of people and for some seasoned “leaders” they say it’s too much work, but if you want to be an actual Leader versus someone who just manages in this current work climate, then it’s time to reflect and change your ways.
Since this is my last article for 2019, I thought I would write about some of the joys that come from being a Connected Leader. Here are my top five joys:
5. Laughter — Yes, you read that right. When you and your team are connected, there is so much more positivity and creativity. The team is close so they can enjoy each other and even laugh at mistakes. This may be obvious, but because they can speak openly and freely without feeling like everything is a competition, then the team knows when they can relax and let their guard down for some good ole friendly conversations and camaraderie. Nothing feels better as a leader than coming around the corner and seeing those in your charge smiling and having a wonderful time with each other.
4. Confidence — The team starts to seek each other out to help solve their problems, answer questions, to be creative and push boundaries. Which means they don’t run to you to solve every little problem. Which is a good thing, isn’t it. First, it’s more expedient. Chances are you don’t have the depth of technical knowledge they need to solve the problems, so turning to each other means they really work together to solve problems and be creative in how to do things differently and for the better. Second, it frees up your time to actually Lead instead of micromanage. Hey, there is a concept!!! Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look ahead instead of always staring at your feet trying to figure out your next step?
3. Growth — As you and the team start to form that connected bond, the growth for everyone becomes exponential. Because the team trusts each other and works together, learning from each other and the ability to listen to and accept other ideas become key components to your team's success. Both you and your team are able to move at a rate that you’ve most likely not seen before because their fear of being wrong or each other is superseded by the excitement of new knowledge, growth, and innovation.
2. Trust — Being a Connected Leader means you have fully built and consistently reinforce the bonds of trust. Some examples are that you accept faults and failures as long as they are followed by lessons learned and accountability. You allow people to speak their minds without admonishment and criticism from anyone. That you always stand by your word and keep your commitments. As a Connected Leader, when you lead by example with regards to trust others follow suit. And when you are lucky enough to have a team that fully trusts each other, it’s pure fricken magic. That means you have a team that won’t let each other fail. That means you have a team that supports each other, applauds each other and hold each other accountable. This ensures everyone is successful, including you as their Leader.
1. Freedom!!! — Seriously, the best part of being a Connected Leader is that you have more time to do the job as it should be done. I’m not saying it happens overnight because it doesn’t. It takes hard work to be a Connected Leader, but once you do that leaves you space to breathe. You aren’t spending time chasing issues that shouldn’t be issues, saving the day from stupid mistakes or trying to motivate the unmotivated. Instead, you are able to look ahead and able to plan appropriately, have the ability to foresee potential issues, be able to participate and become a key member of the company’s growth and planning without feeling overwhelmed and most importantly have time for your own personal growth. Your main responsibility is for those in your charge, but as a Leader, it’s so much more than micromanaging or just leaving them to fend for themselves. As a Connected Leader, you not only have an incredibly productive team you actually get to Lead!
Time to become a Connected Leader. Let me know if you need to talk that through, I’m happy to help.