I would like to challenge you to think about the personal details you know about each person who reports to you. When I say personal details, I mean the kind of things that bring a smile to their faces, like children, a favorite pet, a favorite activity, or checking in on something going on in their lives.
It is very important to make a personal connection with those you lead. Being all business, all the time does not foster the kind of mutual trust and respect needed to drive workforce ownership and engagement. People need to know that you care about them as a person. Some leaders are very good at this and others have to work at it. It is very easy for us to get caught up in all the work in front of us and forget to check in with the people we lead.
A personal connection with people applies at all levels of the organization, from top to bottom. A person’s position does not make them immune to wanting to feel as though they matter and are cared about. In fact, that is what people want the most.
Connecting personally with your people need not be time consuming or awkward. When done well, it saves you time down the road because you are less likely to deal with mistrust issues and will have a better pulse on what is happening with each person you oversee.
As you interact with your team, be sure you start off each conversation on a personal note. Ask, how are you today? How is that favorite dog of yours? How was the baseball game this weekend? Did your son get over the flu? When you connect with someone about something they hold dearly, you will see their demeanor change, most often they will light up and readily talk about it.
For those of you out there that do this well, please carry on. For those of you who don’t, I encourage you to start immediately. Remember, without strong workforce engagement, you will struggle mightily getting the results you are after. Until next time, go forth and lead with passion!