Have you ever worked with someone who you just didn’t connect with? Well, I have!

Photo by Randall Bruder

During a recent workshop, I had the opportunity to speak with a participant who was struggling to connect with her co-workers.

As I listened to her story, I was reminded of a gentleman I worked with many years ago, as a young officer assigned to a new organization. While I was excited about the new position, I was also very concerned because I was working with someone who had a terrible reputation.

This gentleman didn’t get along with anyone. He was always grumpy and complained about everything. No matter how hard I tried I just could not connect with him. After a while, I just stop trying…

As I reflect on that situation now, I realized I made a terrible mistake. I blamed the gentleman for our inability to connect. While he was accountable for his actions, I was also responsible. I know what you are thinking – are you crazy Kim! No! I realized I really didn’t make much of an effort to connect with him.

[callout]As we improve our ability to connect, we are improving our leadership skills.[/callout]

What or who brought about this change? My mentor, John Maxwell! After reading his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, I realized I could have done more to connect. As I read the book, I wondered what would have happened if I had applied the connecting practices outlined in the book.

Maxwell reminded me connecting is a skill. Therefore, it can be learned. Why is it important for us to improve our ability to connect? Because connecting increases our influence. We know leadership is influence.

[shareable cite=”Dr. Kim Moore”]As a leader, our ability to connect will determine our level of success.”[/shareable]

According to the Harvard Business Review, “The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.” When we increase our connecting skills, we increase our ability to communicate effectively.

How can you improve your ability to connect?

Implement the following five connecting practices from Everyone Communicates, Few Connect to help you connect one-on-one:

  • Find common ground with individuals
  • Keep your communications simple
  • Create an enjoyable experience
  • Inspire people by letting people know you understand them
  • Align your words with your actions

Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to work with the gentleman again. However, as I encounter new relationships I strive to implement these connecting practices outlined by John.

Do you connect when you communicate?

Your friend,

Dr. Kim Moore, guiding you to lead with confidence!

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.