Communication

5 Keys to Connecting With Your People

bigstock-Different-46099117I was talking with some friends at a recent morning men’s group. Our focus was on the importance of being connected to other people and what it means. We came up with five things we think help you really get connected to others—at work, and in all aspects of life. How would you rate yourself in these five areas?

  1. Listen more than you speak.  We talked about listening a lot. If God wanted you to speak more than listen, he would have given you two mouths!
  2. Praise other people’s efforts.  This one has always been so important to me. Catch people doing things right.  That really helps you get connected with people.
  3. Show interest in others.  It’s not all about you. Find out about people and their families and learn about what’s happening in their lives.
  4. Be willing to share about yourself.  In our book Lead with LUV, my coauthor and former Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett said that people admire your skills but they really love your vulnerability. Are you willing to share about yourself?  I think being vulnerable with people is really important.
  5. Ask for input from others—ask people to help you.  People really feel connected if they can be of help to you. Continue reading
Categories: Communication, Feedback, Focus, Honesty, Leadership, Listening, Positivity, Praise, Relationships, Trust | 10 Comments

Trust Works!

I’ve written more than a few books over the years, but I still get excited when a new one comes out. We’ve just released a new book I coauthored with Cynthia Olmstead and Martha Lawrence called Trust Works! Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships. We think it will make a difference in people’s lives while giving them a smile.

trust-works-book-coverThe first part of the book is written as a parable about a dog and a cat and how they learn to trust each other. It’s interesting—we asked people for feedback on one of our first drafts, and some dog lovers were offended because it seemed as if the dog had to do all the work to get the trust from the cat. We realized that we needed to emphasize that trust is a two-way street. So in our finished story, not only is the dog trying to get the cat to trust him, but the cat has to get the dog to trust her too. Of course, the story is a metaphor for any relationship where people need to create and build trust with one another. Readers will be able to apply it to their working relationships as well as their relationships with family and friends.

Cindy Olmstead spent years developing the wonderful ABCD Trust Model™ we use in the second part of the book to highlight the four behaviors that need to be present in order to build trust. If even one of these behaviors is absent, trust erodes.

First, you have to prove that you’re Able. You are competent to solve problems and get results. You strive to be the best at what you do and you use your skills to help others.

Next, you have to be Believable. You act with integrity and honesty. You show respect for others, admit your mistakes, keep confidences, and avoid talking behind others’ backs.

You also have to be Connected. You care about others, which includes showing interest, asking for input, and listening.  You praise the efforts of others and share information about yourself.

Finally, you need to be Dependable. You do what you say you will do. You are organized and responsive. People know you will follow up and be accountable.

How would you assess your trustworthiness in these four key areas? Go to http://www.trustworksbook.com and take the self-assessment. While you’re at it, ask the people you work with to evaluate you as well.

That’s how I learned that my lowest score in these four areas was in the Dependable category. What an eye opener! I never thought of myself as undependable but since my executive team and I understood the four factors, we were able to have that conversation and zero in on the problem. Turns out that my desire to please everyone showed up in real life as a tendency to over-commit myself—which resulted in people ultimately being disappointed because I couldn’t meet their expectations.

Using the ABCD Trust Model™, my team came up with a great solution for me. Now when opportunities come up, instead of saying yes without thinking, I hand out my executive assistant’s card so she can make sure I have the time and resources to follow through.  As a result, my Dependable score has soared!

In most organizations, trust issues are simply avoided until they reach a breaking point. You can’t just assume that trust will grow over time—sometimes the exact opposite happens.

Trust is hard to define. You can tell when it’s absent—but how do you create it and build it when it doesn’t exist? Trust Works! provides a common language for trust—and essential skills for building, repairing, and sustaining it. Building trust is one of the most needed skills for leaders today. Don’t leave trust to chance in your organization.

Categories: Communication, Ethics, Expectations, Leadership, Relationships, Trust, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Great Leaders Open Their World

If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know that I’m highlighting the four major areas where great leaders need to grow continuously, taken from my new book with Mark Miller called Great Leaders Grow.  I’ve already covered the first two parts of our GROW model—Gain Knowledge and Reach Out to Others. Continue reading

Categories: Communication, Leadership, Learning, Work/Life Balance | 3 Comments

Understanding Servant Leadership

As part of a new series, I’m introducing today’s leadership concept via a segment extracted from my latest book, Lead with LUV, coauthored by former Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett.

 

Understanding Servant Leadership

For those of you who may not be clear on the concept of servant leadership, read this excerpt from Lead with LUV where Colleen and I discuss why servant leadership is the very best way to lead.

Colleen: Ken, it makes me sad when people hear the term servant leadership and, as you have said, they think you’re talking about la-la land where the inmates are running the prison or trying to please everyone.

Ken: The problem is that they don’t understand leadership or, more importantly, servant leadership. They think you can’t lead and serve at the same time. Yet you can, if you understand that there are two kinds of leadership involved in servant leadership: strategic leadership and operational leadership. Strategic leadership has to do with vision/direction. It’s the leadership part of servant leadership. The focus for strategic leadership is the “what” that ensures everyone is going in the same direction. This is all important because:

Leadership is about going somewhere—

If you and your people don’t know where you are going,

Your leadership doesn’t matter

Alice learned this lesson in Alice in Wonderland when she was searching for a way out of Wonderland and came to a fork in the road. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” she asked the Cheshire Cat. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” the cat said. Alice replied that she really did not much care. The smiling cat told her in no uncertain terms, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Colleen: At Southwest, we’ve always tried to make sure everyone knows where we are heading. Then, of course, we had to make it all happen.

Ken: In essence, that’s what operational leadership is about:  implementation—the “how” of the organization. This is the servant part of servant leadership. It’s what leaders focus on after everyone is clear on where they are going. It includes policies, procedures, systems, and leader behaviors that cascade from senior management to frontline employees and make it possible for the organization to live according to its vision and values and accomplish short-term goals and initiatives. These management practices create the environment that employees and customers interact with and respond to on a daily basis.

I hope you all believe, as I do, that effective leadership starts on the inside. Servant leadership is not just another management technique. It is a way of life for those with a servant’s heart.  The byproducts are better leadership, better service, a higher performing organization, and more success and significance. Stop and think about this:  Are you a servant leader?

Categories: Communication, Servant Leadership | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Lead with LUV – Test for Humor

Categories: Communication, Community, Humor, Workplace Culture | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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