Leadership is about much more than the position or title that you hold. In fact, great leadership
has little to do with position or title that you hold.

Leadership is Personal!

Great Leaders create a personal connection with their people. This personal connections affords them the opportunity to influence people. Leadership is about taking people from where they are to some place, they have never been…and having them willingly take the journey.
Here are five actions that leaders can take to create a personal connection with people and be able to influence them.

1. Listen to Understand First

The best leaders take the time to listen to their people. Great leaders Listen to Understand First. Rather than listening to respond or rebut. Leaders must understand their people’s perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and concerns BEFORE they respond. If you try to influence people before you understand their point of view, you are simply forcing your thoughts and agenda onto them. This may work in some cases. However, if you want to create a personal connection with people, you will “meet them where they are”. This helps leaders avoid lengthy debates that can cause people to become entrenched in their thoughts and beliefs. If you do not listen to understand first, you will have almost no chance of influencing people. Listen to Understand First tells your people that they matter. It tells them that you are interested in their thoughts, ideas and concerns. Listen to Understand First helps leaders to create the personal connection required to influence people.

2. Collaboration and Cooperation vs. Competition
Oftentimes leaders will pit one group against another, or one person against another, with the belief that the best solution will be developed via competition. This may work in some cases. Great leaders will look for ways to create a personal connection between people and groups through collaboration and cooperation. The synergy created by an integrated solution that can have a greater, more widespread organizational impact and value. Leaders who create collaboration and cooperation have a greater opportunity to influence people. In today’s virtual and matrix organizations, the “Lone Wolf” will have a difficult time thriving. Lone Wolf leaders will fail!

3. Strategic vs. Tactical
Great leaders work from the strategic rather than tactical perspective. People need to understand the “why” before moving to the “how”. Great leaders help people understand where they are going and why they need to get there. This about setting the Vision. The Vision is the word picture of the organization at some time in the future. The strategies are the vehicle to move the organization to achieve the Vision. Without the Vision and
Strategies, organizations will aimlessly meander. People may still be working hard, but to what end? A clear, well defined, and well understood Vision can help leaders create the personal connection required to influence people.

4. Enable vs. Push
Great leaders enable people to do their best. They inspire people. Great leaders provide opportunity, resources, coaching, feedback. These activities require creating a personal connection with people. The personal connection aides in creating commitment from people. Inspired people have excitement and energy. They take action and make changes because they want to…they are committed!

On the other hand, the hard pushing leader that just drives for results can leave considerable collateral damage in their wake. The collateral damage is on the people. This often creates a compliant mindset from people. So leaders, you have to ask yourself, do want committed or compliant people? If you want complaint people, then you should not be a leader. Great leaders inspire people. Inspired people are committed. Inspired and committed people have a personal connection to their leaders.

5. Open vs. Closed Mind
Great leaders always keep an open mind. They realize that everything changes over time and with different situations. Just look at the dramatic changes that have occurred with the COVID-19 pandemic. How we communicate and manage business & personal relationships is evolving. How leaders create business strategies and execute business tactics is rapidly and radically changing. A leader who believes that they have all the
answers is a fool. If people believe that the leader does not have an open mind, then they will not share any opposing information or viewpoints. This is a dangerous place for a leader to be. Great leaders have an open mind to differing and diverse viewpoints and openly embrace disagreements and spirited discussion. Healthy debate can be a powerful catalyst for growth & innovation. The leader who regularly seeks out feedback from those they lead, is far more likely to build trusting and influential relationships with their people.

Leadership is Personal!

Great leaders create a personal connection that affords them the opportunity to influence people.

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