Effective leaders know that you first have to touch people’s hearts before you ask them for a hand. That is the Law of Connection.
Some leaders have problems with the Law of Connection because they believe that connecting is the responsibility of followers. That is especially true of positional leaders. They often think, “ I am the boss”. I have the position. These are my employees. Let them come to me. But successful leaders who obey the Law of Connection are always initiators. They take the first step with others and make the effort to continue building relationships. That’s not always easy, but it’s important to the success of the organization. A leader has to do it, no matter how many obstacles there might be.
You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. The heart comes before the head.
Connecting with people isn’t something that needs to happen only when a leader is communicating to groups of people. It needs to happen with individuals. The stronger the relationship and connection between individuals, the more likely the follower will want to help the leader.
John Maxwell is known for his famous quote “ People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” and that is a fact that should always remain at the back of our minds when relating with people because you develop credibility when you connect and show that you genuinely want to help them.
The greatest leaders are able to connect on both levels: with individuals and with an audience. A perfect example was Ronald Reagan. His ability to develop rapport with an audience is reflected in the nickname he received as president: The Great Communicator. But he also had the ability to touch the hearts of the individuals close to him. Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan said that when the president used to return to the White House from long trips, and the staff heard the helicopter landing on the lawn, everyone would stop working, and staff member Donna Elliot would say “Daddy’s Home” It was an indication of the affection his people felt for him.
A key to connecting with people is recognizing that even in a group, you have to relate to people as individuals. General Norman Schwarzkopf remarked “ I have seen competent leaders who stood in front of a platoon and all they saw was a platoon. But great leaders stand in front of a platoon and see it as 44 individuals, each of whom have aspirations, each of whom wants to live, each of whom wants to do good”.
IT’S THE LEADER”S JOB
Never underestimate the power of building relationships with people before asking them to follow you. When a leader has done the work to connect with his people, you can see it in the way the organisation functions. Among employees there are incredible loyalty and a strong work ethics. The vision of the leaders becomes the aspiration of the people. The impact is incredible.
Don’t underestimate the importance of building relational bridges between yourself and the people you lead. There’s an old saying, “ To lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart. That’s the nature of the Law of Connection. Always touch a person’s heart before you ask for a hand.
You will not always connect with people immediately. Human beings are different, but the tougher the challenger, the greater the connection. So take up the challenge and prove your worth as a leader.