In order to have an authentic connection with people at your workplace, you need to show a certain level of vulnerability. Your leadership journey should start with a Leadership Point of View. Wickline describes this in an August issue of Blanchard Ignite as a story about, “. . .the people and events that have shaped who you are. It also speaks to your values, your beliefs and what drives you as a leader.”
This is not always easy. Many people find opening up to be scary and emotional. Wickline suggests a couple of first steps to get you started on your journey.
Look back on where you’ve been and how you gained your current perspectives and values. Your past is part of your leadership journey as well as your present. Reflecting back gives you a lot on insight into who you are now. Even Wickline gained value from this exercise.
“When I started working on my Leadership Point of View, I had to think long and hard about my current attitudes and how they came to be. For example, when somebody tells me I can’t do something, I immediately fight against that and do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. Where on earth did that come from?”
Many times reflecting back will bring to light stories. Stories help you connect with people. An employee relationship is easy to build when you present your authentic self through these successes and failures. Wickline expounds on the importance of stories:
“People remember stories. If I just say, ‘Here is a list of things I think are important,’ people won’t remember that. But when I tell stories about experiences I’ve had or share something I learned from my mom or dad, it makes a connection.”
As you open up to people, they will start responding to you. A leader is more than just a boss. A leader is someone you respect and want to follow. Through your stories you allow people to connect with you in a more meaningful way. Your leadership experience helps guide others in their own journey.
Good things to share include life events that have shaped you, people who have influenced you and everyday happenings that keep you motivated. Wickline shares the benefits of this process by saying,
“People who put the time and energy into this process consistently look back on the experience as something that helped them rediscover the values and beliefs they hold dear. Sharing your story with your team creates a deep connection.”
So don’t be afraid to share a bit of yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable every now and then.