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9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

Being a connective leader is no harder than becoming a skilled musician. If you apply these principles and play by the rules, people will follow you.

1. Encourage creativity.

Always involve others in seeking solutions. One of the qualities that makes us different from every other person is our creativity. It’s good to explore the creativity of each member of your team. Diversity brings innovation. From my years of leading several teams, I have discovered that the best ideas often come from passive members of the team. It doesn’t matter that everyone is not outspoken, what really matters is that everyone is heard. Always make sure you involve every member of the team in decision making, regardless of their personality.

2. Become an active listener.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Listening and hearing is not the same thing. Your ability to listen as a leader is your greatest asset, and it’s an asset not many leaders possess. Everyone wants to be heard; no one wants to listen. Sometimes just try to listen and not say anything. When you listen, you show your team members that you care about them and this encourages them to share with you. If you are going to be a connective leader, especially one who is skilled at problem solving, you just have to become an active listener.

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3. It’s okay to fail.

Failure is not the end of the world. In fact, you cannot succeed until you have failed. There is no way your teammates will not make mistakes, so the way you handle such mistakes is what will determine what kind of leader you are. Allow your teammates to safely face and self correct it whenever they fail or make mistakes. When someone makes a mistake, compliment her for her effort and tell her that she can do better next time. “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

4. It’s all right to be a friend.

The days of autocratic leadership and dictatorship are far gone. There is a popular saying that “leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.” You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. Being a friend is not as hard as it seems; all you have to do is take personal interest in the growth and success of everyone you lead. Learn their names, find out where they live, give them something of value on their birthdays. Connect with them emotionally, and they will follow you to the moon.

5. Lead your team on a journey.

One of the costliest mistakes most leaders make is that they want to get to the Promised Land first and before everyone else. A team is called that because it consists of diverse people seeking a common goal. Whatever your team’s goal might be, make sure you carry everyone along. Even footballers are not happy when they get benched, regardless of whether or not the team wins a trophy. Let your team members help you as you make crucial decisions and overcome difficult challenges. They say that “success is a journey, not a destination.” Allow your teammates experience the joy of overcoming each challenge on the way to glory.

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6. Invest in your team.

I saw a funny joke recently. A CFO was having a conversation with the CEO of a firm.

CFO to CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?”

CEO to CFO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

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The education of your team members should be a major concern to you as the leader. The more individual team members grow, the bigger and better the organization or group becomes. There is a popular saying that “to double your productivity, triple your education.” In other words, to double the strength of your team, triple the education of your team members. Investing in your team members also brings loyalty.

7. Give recognition.

Don’t try to take all the glory. Give recognition to whom recognition is due. According to Dale Carnegie, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” Recognition is a major motivation to humans. Who doesn’t like to be recognized? We all love recognition and compliments. Take note of even the little things and make sure you give compliments openly so that the receiver can be very happy. This will also help other members of the team to strive harder so they can receive compliments for their good works.

8. Let your actions inspire others.

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

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People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. In a typical organization, the moment your subordinate becomes stronger than you, he will become your boss and you will become the subordinate. One way to earn respect is to do what you say. You lead by example and from the front. First show your subordinates that you can do it, and they will follow you. They will give their best to become like you

9. Trust is a must.

To be a connective leader, you must earn the trust of your team members. There are various ways to earn trust but some of the best ways are: make your teammates comfortable around you; don’t judge people by their weaknesses and inadequacies and don’t do divide and rule; be a good listener; be your team members’ no. 1 cheerleader, and so on. No matter what you do, you will never be a connective leader if you don’t have the trust and respect of your team members, so earn it.

Featured photo credit: West Point – The U.S. Military Academy via flickr.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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