One Big Shift 

The big idea for becoming an effective leader is to shift from directing to connecting. Imagine standing on one end of a bridge as your team members stand on the other side. Leaders who “direct” point to their side of the bridge and say, “Come on over here and I’ll show you the way.” Leaders who “connect” walk to the other side of the bridge where the team members are to meet and walk across together. 

My personal leadership shift has been slow and steady, partly because some of my role-models were more of the director-type. It worked, it just didn’t seem to bring out the best in me (or others).

Here is a short list to shifting from “directing” to being a connected leader:
1. Meet people on their side of the bridge (aka, meet them where they are)
2. Communicate that their ideas are valued.
3. Share common ideas and strategies, work as true partners.
4. Listen and learn by asking follow-up questions. A leader must be an effective listener.
5. Make real-time adjustments based on feedback from others.
6. Settle on a mutual-winning game plan.
7. Don’t create followers, create a true leader of influence, impact, and inspiration of others.
8. Check in and celebrate small victories. Don’t forget about the big victories too! Sincerely take interest in the success of others.

Remember, emotional intelligence has a lot to do with social skills. I assert that most leaders today can usually trace their successes (and failures) to their relationships. Learn to cultivate the skill of connecting and find common ground.

One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.” I think this is a principle we can all be more conscious of.

Here’s to shifting from directing to connecting!

– Steve

As a master storyteller, Steve has unparalleled ability to communicate dynamic business and leadership truths through stories, anecdotes and humor. Harness the power of the “number one” predictor of professional success, impact, leadership, high performance and sustainable relationships in business and life. Steve’s highest rated keynote presentation.

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“The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance. ”

About the Author

Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.

A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.