Leadership’s Secret Ingredient; Connecting

What kind of leader or manager inspires you? Brings out your best? Makes you feel engaged, empowered, and valued? Think about your very best manager, someone you respect and admire. If you need to dig deeper, how about a special teacher or coach? A volunteer, a church figure or community leader? And the question I ask you is: What is it that makes them memorable?

Did you think of their knowledge and skills first? Or their education and degree? How about their list of accomplishments? No, of course not! A leader (or any person) is not memorable because of their knowledge, skills, education or even accomplishments (though they may be). The secret ingredient is quite simple, connecting is the key.

Human Being’s vs. Human Doing’s

In addition to knowledge and skills, leaders who are successful have learned to connect with people. Harvard research indicates that 85% of success comes from soft skills. This includes the ability to build trust, develop rapport and connect. Really connecting with people in a way that matters requires you intrinsically value people. It’s recognizing the unique and irreplaceable value of people. Seeing people as a human being versus a human doing.

Connecting is the Key

Remember the movie Avatar?  There is a moment when Jake Sully tells Neytiri “I see you“. She is seeing Jake in his human form, his “real self” for the first time. While Jake “looks” different, they see and feel the special connection they share. Connecting with others requires this kind of attention. It requires seeing whole people. People as parent’s and spouses, volunteers, cub scout leaders or members of a choir. People who face challenges and tragedy, or experience hope, joy and moments jubilation. Valuing others means (at least temporarily) putting yourself aside, your agenda and your idea of what’s supposed to happen. Connecting is active, it requires you to “show up”, listen intently, and most of all, pay attention.

What makes a leader memorable?

Do you know a leader who is the best in their field, is well respected for their accomplishments, but is not likeable? How about someone who has unique, amazing and creative ideas, but is considered self-serving? Can you think of someone who is a mover and a shaker, a recognized name in the industry, but is regarded as a tyrant?

Are these types of leaders memorable? You bet they are! But, are they remembered positively? Do they connect with people, inspiring them to become their best? Are they able to connect with their teams, instilling a feeling of being valued and respected? Do they connect with you, encouraging and valuing you to do your very best?

Have you experienced a leader who has the secret ingredient? I’d love to hear you thoughts on this. Let me know of leader you remember for all the right reasons!

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Kristin Clark is a certified Axiogenics Coach, guiding individuals and leaders in developing Cognitive Self-Leadership. This master skill helps people unlock their potential using their own unique cognitive skills and assets to achieve whatever matters most. Learn how to improve your performance, creating long lasting results in your personal and professional life at: www.YourInsightCoach.com.