One of the traits that differentiates great leaders from the rest is their ability to pull everything together and create a cohesive organization.
These types of leaders understand that synergy and teamwork cannot exist with gaps or schisms of any sort. Whether in skills, information, or culture, these individuals focus on connecting the dots to create a stronger mesh of resources. Leaders of this caliber detest holes that exhibit weaknesses in their teams and work hard to fill in those gaps, which bolster effectiveness and enhance overall performance.
Here are some of the most common ways great leaders connect the dots in their teams:
Engage with your people. The best leaders make connections with their entire staff individually. The concerted effort of valuing your people makes them feel vital to the team and increases commitment. People who aren’t connected can pull away and bring down others around them, so these leaders work hard on this key foundation.
Create connectors within the team. While the ability to connect with everyone is vital, not every leader can build equal rapport with every person. But it’s the intuitive leader who knows which of their people and leaders within the team can be the most effective in developing deeper connections. They create a working environment – whether through small teams, projects, or physical assignments – that allows these relationships to root and grow.
Provide access to all needed resources. Gaps in training and the needed resources to accomplish one’s job are huge barriers to overcome. Without these tools employees get frustrated, and productivity and engagement drop markedly. Great leaders will funnel what their people need and make it accessible for them to learn, develop, and accomplish the goals laid out for them.
Connect information flow and veracity. Whether through gossip, misinformation, or just natural gaps in the chain, information must flow and be trustworthy. A leader who leaves holes for people to fill in the blanks or allows the rumor mill to go unchecked permits toxins to permeate their organization. By verifying information sources, filling in more details, and having accessible points of communication, a leader can ensure a connected and well-informed team that is all on the same page.
Close the physical gaps. Sometimes teams are physically unable to work together. Whether remote locations or individuals in the field, a smart leader will give a physical presence to help everyone feel connected. Methods such as remote 1-to-1 meetings, team lunches, or even using the latest communication technology make for effective ways that people can feel more in touch with their colleagues.
Connect complementary skill sets. If you have two separate teams and one is deficient on customer service while the other is noted for being stellar in service, you may want to mingle the two teams to spread the skills around. Sometimes the tendency is to hoard all of one skill to boost that team’s performance up; but if another team is suffering in the same skill it is demoralizing and counterproductive. By spreading the wealth of talent around, everyone will feel like they’re contributing and being supported in their roles.
Align efforts with culture and goals. The best organizations have a culture that permeates everything in the company. When a leader threads through all efforts, goals, and rewards to the culture, they create a powerful engine of dedicated focus on the mission. Strong culture bonds people together while loose culture allows drift in the company.
Create strength in your organization by connecting the dots of culture, relationships, systems, resources, and proximity. Mitigate your weaknesses and build a stronger and more successful team by being connected – in touch – as a leader yourself.
More From Paul LaRue
Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership, strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.