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Leadership starts by saying hello!

Great article by Michael Maslansky and Lee Carter 

It’s Monday morning. I walked into the office after an early meeting. My team was already at work and I felt like I was already running behind schedule. Typing emails as I walked, I went my desk. Computer on, I started staring at a bigger screen instead.   
To me, it was no big deal. I had things to do. Work to focus on. I wasn’t making a statement. I was just trying to get from the door to my desk. I didn’t think anyone was even paying attention. 
I was wrong. 
As important as these speeches may be, becoming an effective communicator is about much more than the big speech.  In fact, in most businesses, most everyday leaders have few opportunities to give the big speech. Whether you are running a company, a department, or a project team, there are few rallying cries and calls to collective action.  Most of the time, the moments are much more mundane. 
In these moments, your communication is no less important. You still need to motivate your team when success looks daunting. To challenge them to always deliver their best work. To teach them to be resilient and bounce back from adversity. To deliver bad news to some without damaging the morale of all.  To promote one well-deserving staffer without sending her peers looking for another job. To celebrate wins without generating complacency.  These moments can be very challenging to navigate. To succeed in these moments you must have an emotional connection with your team.  They must want to listen to you, to follow you, to trust you.   
Which brings me back to “hello.”
There are many leaders who believe that they should focus only on business. That employee relationships are meant to be professional not personal. That there is too little time in the day to waste it on small talk. That employees are hired to do a job and they should get down to it.  
These leaders do little to create positive emotional connections with their teams. They create a rational, almost transactional relationship.  They do not seek to build trust with their teams and as a result they tend not to be trusted.  And as a result, they are less likely to be successful in achieving more than what the transaction requires.   
On the other end of the spectrum are leaders who understand that people do better work for people they like than for people they don’t. They recognize that when you engage your team personally, they are more likely to be engaged professionally.  When you show you care about them, they are more likely to care about you and your business.  They are more likely to trust you, follow you, work harder for you. 
It doesn’t take a big speech to create that emotional connection.  A simple hello can start to do the job as well.
Posted on June 21, 2015

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