Main With Connection: Learn how to construct relationships that result in higher outcomes

Leadership is personal, and when leaders focus on business goals, they can break away from the human element in the workplace. However, building trust and creating a personal connection are key to motivating and engaging employees, who in turn are critical to achieving business results.

A recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that three elements are required for leaders to build trust among employees: positive relationships, good judgment / expertise, and persistence. Positive relationships were most important.

Building positive relationships is more important today than ever before

The study used examples to define “positive relationships”, including weighing outcomes against concern for others, staying in touch with their problems and concerns, generating cooperation and resolving conflicts with others, and providing helpful honest feedback .

For a leader, building positive relationships goes beyond talking about job responsibilities or performance requirements. It means prioritizing time to be visible and consistently connecting with team members wherever they are. It means showing concern and respect by listening to what people say and responding to what they need.

To make this a habit in your business, consider the following:

  • Manage by "walking around" (or being present on video calls these days) Seeing employees in their daily environment. Ask them what they are working on and listen to their updates and concerns. Stop by the break room when you are on site to say hello from a distance and take the opportunity to see what people are up to. Take notes on points that require your attention, make sure that follow-up action is taken and that there is prompt action.
  • Schedule regular contact points Engage face-to-face with employees by video. In addition to more formal town hall meetings, you should also consider informal interactions, e.g. For example, a video lunch for people with monthly birthdays or an occasional visit to a team meeting or a manager's meeting. Ask employees what they need to get their jobs done. If necessary, share your goals and ask for them. Above all, listen to what they have to say to show that you value them and their contributions.
  • Celebrate team and individual achievements. Everyone wants to feel valued and know that their efforts are important. When team goals are met or individuals go beyond expectations, take the opportunity to personally thank the people involved, whether through a video call or by sending a personal note via email. This will help strengthen your relationships and reinforce the importance of their work to business success.

Each of these connection points offers the opportunity to get to know employees personally. Not only do you watch for work-related topics, but also watch their work areas at home or on site to learn more about what they enjoy and what is important to them. Ask for a photo or something interesting in their work area, talk about a favorite sports team, about their family, or what they enjoy doing outside of work. Talk about things you have in common so that they can get to know you and know more about you. What are the big and small things that are important to you? What are you looking forward to?

Lead with emotions in mind

Another HBR article A few years ago the sociological and psychological literature examined what people look for in executives. It found that people seek, admire, and respect leaders who evoke three emotional responses in them.

  • The sense of meaning: People want to feel valued and know that they really matter – regardless of how they contribute to an organization. Feeling important leads to loyalty.
  • The feeling of community: Community arises when people have a sense of work and feel part of something bigger than them.
  • The feeling of excitement: People want excitement and challenge in their life. A leader's energy keeps followers in suspense and can inspire them to become leaders.

When you consider the needs of the employees and put targeted efforts to find a common connection, loyalty and trust are built which ultimately help team members to be better connected to executives and business goals even in the toughest times.

How can you make better connections with employees?

– –David Grossman

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