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How To Connect With People Before You Lead Them

Imagine you’re doing something completely non-work related and an idea goes off in your head – an idea that can help you in your work. 

Has this ever happened to you? 

Before I tell you about my recent light bulb moment, there’s something you should know about me…reading for pleasure is one of my favorite free-time activities.

In fact, I can’t think of anything better than crawling up on the couch with a fat new novel. 

Occasionally I come across a word that’s unfamiliar or I’m not sure how to pronounce. I recently came across the word “cogent”. 

Spoken with a soft “g”, here’s what offered: “to the point; relevant; pertinent”.

This definition got me thinking about the people I work with. Specifically, how important it is for them to communicate in this way. Hence, the light bulb.

Regardless of profession or job title, the ability to communicate in a way that is to the point, relevant and pertinent is a MUST-HAVE.

The other day I shared this observation with the MD of a Management Consultancy. Let’s call him Toby.

He fully agreed – no matter how talented they are, people will never perform at their best if the basics like effective communication is missing.

Based on his extensive experience, I’m sure he’d also agree that before you can lead anyone, you’ve to to connect with them.

BIG 3 For Leadership License

There was a time when I couldn’t wait to get past skills-building and start helping the C level.

After all, senior leaders and managers have excellent communication skills, right? 

Wrong…after working closely with senior executives for over ten years, my work is often focused on the very skills I couldn’t wait to move beyond.

Standing above all skills are the BIG 3 MUST-HAVES.

By the way, if you ever want to reach the C level, you’ve got to first master these.

Let’s look at a department head who’d like to lead her team through a change:

Before she can win support for the change, she has to communicate in a way that inspires her key stakeholders (MUST-HAVE #1). 

Next, she has to collaborate in a way that motivates her partners and stakeholders to take action (MUST-HAVE #2). 

And before she can lead or influence anyone to do anything, she has to connect with them on a human level (MUST-HAVE #3). 

For help with #1, here are 5 key elements to boost your communication impact:

To effectively collaborate and connect with people, you’ve got to understand them. 

Before you can really understand them, you’ve got to understand yourself – start by learning to overcome your blind spots and other performance killers.

This will help you better connect and collaborate with your key stakeholders (#2 – #3).

Take Action Today

Regardless of natural talent or how far you’ve climbed up the company ladder, mastery of the BIG 3 is essential if you ever want to reach the sacred C-suite.

Actually, they’re MUST-HAVE skills at every level of an organization. 

Just ask Toby…or someone like him.

If they seem basic, it’s because they are. 

Basic and human.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. If you’d like to improve one of the BIG 3, book a FREE DISCOVERY CALL with me.

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  • Thanks for your exciting post, Tim. Indeed, it is very often necessary to remind of and practice the basics – as even a master is not free from training, which is still the core of teaching. What spontaneously came to my mind regarding basics that might be added: Reflexion, veritable listening or emotional intelligence and walking the talk authentically, even though you might say, those are immanent to the other three.

    Anyways, it is important letting transcend the implicit into the limelight of the stage, asking for an explicit dance – recurringly.

    Thanks again for the good read, Tim!

    • Thanks, Andreas! I totally agree that simple REFLECTION is a basic…although, sadly, many people don’t do it.

  • Great post! And it’s interesting when we think of building a business that we often concentrate on the mechanics of that, skills we need to learn and yet the human interaction – we are after all community creatures, is a key aspect of what is needed to make anything successful!

  • Great post! Human connection and the ability to communicate ideas clearly is vital for influence. I’ve known people with phenomenal ideas that just couldn’t get it off the ground because they lacked these 3C’s.

    Thanks for posting

    • Thanks, Amanda! BTW, how did you build these 3 skills – I know you have got them because you’ve got a successful business (off the ground!).