Leaders need to connect

Over recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in the way in which leaders should operate within their business. To be truly successful leaders connect emotionally with their team as a matter of course.

Where once companies had a ‘closed-door’ policy and a ‘need-to-know’ basis communication stream, the paradigm has shifted. There is now a generation of leaders who know that to succeed they need to let go of the outdated command and control and be open to connecting.

Entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerburg or Richard Branson, don’t conform to wearing sharp suits and discussing the bottom line.  They have a vision they want to fulfil. They know that the only way of doing this is by getting their team and customers on board. Those leaders connect emotionally with their employees and stakeholders to get true buy-in from all their stakeholders.

1. Be Human

If you’ve been putting up a wall between yourself and your employees, then it’s time you knocked it down and be real with them.  Leaders connect emotionally when they speak honestly and from their heart.

There’s a difference between acting professionally, and real and just being downright cold. This stereotypical leadership style will do you no favours in retaining happy and satisfied employees.

A good leader must be able to step into their employee’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Being able to relate to them does wonders for employees as they feel as though they are understood as a person.

Being able to communicate with your team on a personal level ensures that should there ever be a problem, they would come to you first and not last.

Having empathy for a situation and even being able to discuss common interests will open up a strong line of communication. This approach will ensure that any queries your team have surrounding the tasks you have set will be quickly resolved.

2. Encourage Opinion

When decisions are made that affect your team,  it’s essential you discuss these with them.  Then invite comments, insights and input from them. Everyone from the intern to the creative director will know the goal of the task. It also allows a diverse array of opinions which can enable you to solve solutions quicker. You may even find new ways of tackling any changes.

Many leaders may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of an open discussion. Perhaps because they don’t trust their team’s opinion, or perhaps because ‘too many cooks can spoil the broth’. But if your team are involved in the development of company decisions, you are only impacting your own success.

3. Avoid Micro-Managing

A key quality required in a modern leader is the ability to delegate work. By giving your team ownership over their projects they will feel a sense of responsibility. They will flourish at the opportunity to be successful in their own right.

It’s a classic leadership dilemma, but by holding employees accountable for their assigned tasks you may be surprised by their commitment and innovative work.

Give them the power to make decisions, but ensure you have been clear with your expectations. Make yourself available for guidance but give them the confidence to make the decisions.

4. Stay Positive

Negativity is infectious, and once routed in the business can be toxic to your team and their productivity.

No matter the wall you come up against it’s your job as a leader to stay positive and encourage positive thinking even when the going gets tough.

It can be hard to do this when things aren’t working out the way you want them to, but attitude is everything, and you need to lead by example, even with positive meetings just to boost morale and have a laugh. Leaders connect emotionally when they can be positive in all situations.

Image courtesy of Depositphotos

As a freelance writer within the business and marketing sector, I’ve spent many years working alongside SME’s in an effort to grow and boost their business in the new digital age of marketing.