Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Question for Leaders: Do You Connect?

As a leader, it’s important to make connections with those you lead. But how often do you actually spend the time to make these connections? In the words of Carl W. Buechner: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Therefore, it’s time to start.

Lyn Boyer, a leadership coach, author, and educator based in Florida, focuses on the emotional side of leadership, which she calls, “Affective Leadership.” Her unique background as a high school principal, coordinator of leadership development, and college professor, has provided a lens into the necessary emotional connections made by effective leaders. Who doesn’t want to be an EFFECTIVE leader?

Her book, Connect, Affective Leadership for Effective Results, “is about leaders who want to make positive connections and achieve outstanding results in all types of groups and organizations. In addition, it’s about possibilities for enhanced relationships, increased productivity, and greater personal and professional fulfillment.”

Lyn introduces a concept of Affective Leadership, which she describes as the connection of mind, body, emotion, and language that persuades others to join leaders. While business leaders focus on the bottom line, Lyn poses the argument that since leaders instill trust, it is the emotional connections that form the basis of all effective leaders.

Consider these statistics. Leaders may not always realize the emotional impact they have on others, whether positive or negative. But according to research from the Saratoga Institute, 80% of employees who voluntarily leave their jobs do so as a result of management issues or toxic work environments. According to the study, 50% of employee satisfaction was tied to the employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor.

One way to address a team or a challenging situation is to ask powerful questions:

[1] Why is this a concern for you? What do you fear?

[2] What are your greatest resources? What resources do you need?

[3] What have you gained or learned from this experience?

[4] What are your roadblocks to success?

[5] How can you turn the roadblocks into gateways?

[6] I am sensing frustration. What would make you relax?

[7] How would you describe your voice or body now? What does that tell you about how you feel about this situation?

[8] Am I trustworthy? In making promises? In keeping confidences?

So, how do you connect with others?

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