The subtle leadership skill that makes a huge difference
Many leaders I know get mired in an endless stream of transactions and never learn to see or harness the power of connections.
We are at our best when we creating connections. In fact, as noted in the title of this post, I think it is one of the key attributes of an effective leader. Connecting beats controlling any day of the week.
So let’s roll with that for a bit. What does it mean to create connections?
If you are in a leadership role, even on a small scale, you have only to observe the communications, people, ideas, and problems with which you come in contact every day to notice numerous opportunities to create connections.
- Connecting teams with different skillsets to solve a problem
- Connecting people with tools to do their work more effectively
- Connecting ideas with a strategy to move the organization forward
- Connecting behavior to results through feedback
- Connecting the right message to the right audience
In addition to creating new connections, a leader can expand existing connections to increase their value or repair important connections that are losing effectiveness.
If you will learn to become very intentional about creating connections you will significantly expand the impact of your leadership. Why? Because organizations are networks. The effectiveness of the network is directly related to the degree to which the right connection is made in the right place at the right time.
You know intuitively that this is right because it’s true of every network you encounter, including the one that is enabling you to read this article. The idea is to learn to see your organization as a collection of connections that you can influence.
This is a leadership skill that people don’t often speak about but they recognize it in a person almost subconsciously. We can observe that around this person the organizational network seems to operate with greater efficiency and consistency. Energy naturally flows easily toward the area of greatest need. This leader is always involved but never seems to be in the way.
Maybe you recall someone that made it seem effortless. They never stood out or made a lot of noise, but they always seemed to know what to do. The people around them did too. They might not be the smartest or most charismatic person in the room, but they mastered how to connect the dots.
How to become a dot-connector:
- Notice how much of what you do involves some kind of connection point.
- Observe the various types of connections that you encounter every day.
- Seek out opportunities to understand and improve critical connections.
- Try to establish new connections through observation. learning, research, conversations, and experimenting.
- Teach others the power of observing and creating connections.
Expanding organizational connections builds organizational elasticity. More and better connections lead to more effective and appropriate responses to internal and external events. And an organization with healthy and deep connections is more resilient.
See the connection?
The takeaway: Get curious. Consider keeping a journal this week to track how many events or actions in your day involve creating, repairing, or expanding a connection of some kind. If you really learned to master these moments, how might it affect your results and your team?