How to forge a real connection in the digital age
Besides personal leadership coaching, certified coach Miguel Baumann creates startups and leads teams at the forefront of digital innovation.
Often, when people talk about what good leadership looks like, the discussion turns to how best to define a mission, create an effective strategy, align goals, and the mechanics of good decision-making and action-taking.
There is no doubt that all these things are important. Crucial, even. But these things aren’t leadership; they’re management.
Leadership vs management
Good leadership is about vision. It’s about forging an emotional connection with your team that rallies them together as you all go in pursuit of a common goal.
While a manager strives to control their team; the leader works to inspire.
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Rather than barking orders, the leader creates real connections with team members. This builds trust.
Building trust and respect doesn’t happen overnight. As with any craft, developing true leadership skills takes an investment of time and effort.
The craft of leadership
True leadership is about creating anew, not merely supervising the existing. To begin any bold creative act, the leader must first inspire trust in those they are to lead effectively.
Leadership can only be built on honest relationships, and real relationships are built on trust.
There are a number of ways to achieve trust. A leader must:
- Be transparent and consistent in their actions
- Build authentic relationships with others
- Create a safe environment conducive to honest and open communication
So, how is this all done? Quite simply by being authentic.
The audacity to be authentic
In our wired world, we have the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips 24/7. We can connect with each other in an instant, day or night. This constant access has connected us across continents and served as a powerful tool in our business and our personal lives.
But it has come at a cost. The age of the photoshopped selfie and the fake news phenomenon has made building trust more difficult than ever before. To overcome the prevailing cynicism of our age demands, a true leader must be real; to muster the courage to be vulnerable.
This is the audacity to be authentic.
All this is simple to say, but can be oh so difficult to do. But the leader who displays the bravery to be vulnerable will win the trust and loyalty of their team.
They will inspire those they lead:
- to go that extra distance that makes the difference between a project being ok or outstanding
- to mine the depths of their own creativity for that next great idea
- to do what is necessary to achieve the common goal
So, how does a leader go about achieving this? There are a few essential steps to take:
1. Develop a strong sense of self
Know yourself, know your values, know your story. It is critical that you do an honest audit of your strengths and weaknesses to reveal to yourself your own true motivations. Only then can you access your most authentic self and go beyond surface explanations to truly own your story.
2. Learn to connect
Whether speaking to a packed auditorium, or an individual employee, forging a genuine connection is crucial. While different contexts make different demands on us, always speak from your centred, authentic self, and you will inspire trust in those around you.
A genuine connection can be created by displaying honest curiosity in the other person; by asking open questions and remaining fully present to hear the answers. When responding to questions, give honest answers that reveal your own true self and not some idealised social media avatar.
3. Be vulnerable
Vulnerability is about the courage to be honest and open. It is about accepting our flaws and mistakes and owning them with pride. It’s not just about developing and growing in our capabilities - it’s about you and me as human beings, with our messy and beautiful imperfections and showing up anyway.
Displaying the courage to be vulnerable inspires others in your team to do likewise. Through this vulnerability, you can have honest conversations with your team, removing roadblocks and helping them to unleash their full potential.
Lead the way
“Being authentic as a leader is hard work and takes years of experience in leadership roles. No one can be authentic without fail; everyone behaves inauthentically at times, saying and doing things they will come to regret." ~ Bill George
To become an authentic leader who forges a real connection in this digital age begins with the decision to invest time in your own development to own yourself and your stories.
Take the next step to forge a real connection with your team. Get started today by booking your free leadership development call with Miguel Baumann, simply click here or sign up below: