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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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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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