On Staying Connected As A Leader

Recently I was inspired by an executive who was participating in one of my leadership programs. Several years ago, he arrived to lead a division within his organization and found out there were eighty-four offices spread throughout the area within his stewardship. “For the first year,” he said to me, “I made it a goal to visit everyone office. I spent about three quarters of the year travelling that first year, and although I missed my goal by six offices, I have since had the chance to meet with every team in the division.”

“What did you talk about?” I asked.

“No agenda; just a connection. That was all that was important. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, listened to, and connected with. We all need to feel that somehow we belong. I intimidated many of the teams because they had never had their divisional leader show up in their office. This just made me realize that I need to do this more. Most of them loosened up and talked about their families, their goals, and their life’s priorities. I received suggestions about how to make the organization better and had a chance to share my values and vision. It was all about making the connection, showing that I cared, and making some deposits in the trust account. It’s not rocket science. You just have to make creating connections a priority.”

How do you connect with those you serve? How do you build trust? How are you staying connected as a leader?