Connecting as a Leader

When you climb that greasy pole and get into the exalted position of “leader” then you find yourself with your head well and truly over the parapet. (Is that how it feels by the way, climbing a greasy pole with your head over a parapet?) Have you ever climbed a greasy pole? Do we even know what a parapet is? It’s an interesting point though. We’ve decided to use metaphor to introduce this topic. It’s a good tool. It’s good shorthand. It’s talking a language that people understand. But of course, not everyone understands every metaphor and as we’ve discovered, people are individuals and the same approach won’t be as effective for everybody. 

That’s when our approach to understanding your people comes in. We will talk about many concepts, techniques and theories that all come under our overarching objective around building connection; nowhere in all our work is the importance of building connection more highlighted than in the relationship between you and your boss, or you and your direct reports.  

Some years ago we were working on a leadership programme with a global energy company and were introduced to the phrase ‘How you show up?’. At the time, it felt a bit West Coast, but as the years have gone on, we have realised that actually, how you show up is terribly important. As a leader, people look to you, and they copy your behaviour. What you say may have an impact, but what you do has an even greater one.

In Connecting as a Leader, we will consider:

  • Status is “something that you do, not that you have”: Great leaders understand that both being aware of, and being able, to raise and lower their status enables them to create the best connection. Status can be a confusing term unless you understand that it is your behaviour that determines it, as opposed to external privileges bestowed upon you. You may be low in social status, but play high, and vice versa.
  • Rapport: The best leaders manage the balance between friend and authoritarian well. That is because they have established rapport with their people. Here we will explore the tenets of listening, physical presence and impact, and spend time understanding how to build influence. This work is not mean-spirited, and links fundamentally to our third leadership essential.
  • Authenticity: Shakespeare knew a thing or two about human behaviour. In Hamlet, Polonius advises his son “to thine own self be true”. Now, it didn’t turn out that well for Laertes, but we know what the Bard was talking about. Being yourself sounds an easy thing to do, but what if you feel there are quite a lot of selves that you have to play? We will help you to explore how to become the best leader you can be.