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How we lead matters.

Leadership is about empathy, compassion and connection with others for the purpose of empowering their growth, development and success.

If you want to lead, inspire and engage your team, peers or organisation, it is essential that you practice the key principles of the connected leader.

Nowadays, this is more relevant than ever, with everyone working from home, practicing physical distancing and experiencing a lack of human interaction.

It is as clear as day that connection is the number one human need.

A healthy company culture means cultivating positive relationships, making your team feel valued, heard, acknowledged and better understood. To do so, you need to create a shared purpose, vision and understanding of why you exist as a whole and why you do what you do, all achieving personal, professional and organisational goals.

As a leader, it is critical for you to foster connections across your organisation if you want to have any sort of influence on change, transformation, innovation or decision making to make things happen.

Leadership connection is everything

So, what do connected leaders do?

First and foremost, they create this invaluable connection. It is the heart to every leadership relationship, and the quality of that relationship is based on the quality of the connection.

A connected leader practices empathy and compassion. It’s the togetherness that creates rapport, harmony and the understanding between people.

A connected leader has an open and curious mind with the desire to genuinely want to find out as much as possible about their team, peers and all those that they interact with. They ask thought-provoking questions and listen with purpose.

They naturally demonstrate trust by being personal, vulnerable, consistent, transparent and truly appreciating others.

Communication is the foundation to every successful relationship

In addition to connection, communication is another imperative element for the connected leader.

It is the bridge from confusion to clarity, from turmoil to peace, from anger to understanding, from doubt to confidence and from disorder to order.

Communication is creating a shared understanding, an awareness of self and others, a comprehension and an appreciation that we all think, feel and experience very differently.

This in itself will enable you and others to make better decisions to obtain tremendous results.

Collaboration makes us better

Collaborative leadership is another necessary trait as a leader. It means investing time in bringing teams out of working in silos to working together.

This involves simultaneously working on projects as a way to identify their teams’ strengths, giving them the space to perform at their best so as to rise and thrive collectively as a unit.

By default, the collaborative leader creates an environment that breeds leaders because they value others’ input, ideas and suggestions as part of the greater good.

Collaborative leadership means offering everyone an opportunity, possibility and freedom to collaborate, build, design and produce an end product that they themselves would not have been able to tap into all that talent alone.

Commitment is what keeps us going

By now, you must be wondering, ‘well, how do we do it?’

It takes commitment.

If you can take one insight from this article and put it into practice for the next 21 days, I promise you will start to see a shift.

The secret to staying committed is being consistent, and the best way to do that is to plan.

You can create your own 21-day planner and focus on perfecting just one thing at a time. Make sure you write a list of intentions that you want to commit to and pick the one that will have the biggest impact.

The next step is to find an accountability partner that will keep you responsible with your intention for the next 21 days.

The final and most important piece is to write down all of your achievements, your victories and your wins in a journal. I call it your ‘brag’ diary, and it works as a way to keep the momentum, drive and motivation.

The key to empowerment is to give power

Another way that you can become the connected leader is to build strong, open and trusting relationships.

But to do that, you need to give trust first.

Yep. Even if you lack a little trust with one of your team members, the most effective way to get over that ‘label’ that you carry in your mind is to give power away.

Imagine sharing ‘power’ across your organisation, empowering your team and others to make decisions that are aligned with the strategy of the organisation.

As a by-product of trusting your team, delegating and enabling others to be responsible, accountable and giving them autonomy to make their own decisions, there will be:

  • A highly functioning work environment
  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • More loyalty and commitment to work
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction

Empowered individuals empower others

There are countless benefits when teams are empowered to make decisions, come up with their own unique ideas and have the freedom to perform to the best of their ability within the organisation.

Their performance will improve. Trust will increase. They become more adaptable to change.

In this regard, Harvard Business Review shares statistics comparing people at low-trust companies with people at high-trust companies. When team members are trusted, they demonstrate:

  • 74% less stress
  • 106% more energy at work
  • 50% higher productivity
  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 76% more engagement
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives
  • 40% less burnout

To read the second piece in this two-part series, click here.