The Law of Connection is the 10th law of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership — it states that “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.”
There is nothing you want more as a leader than to have the ears of your people listen to what you have to say, their hands in cooperation with your vision, and their hearts fully committed to the agenda you set.
But you can mess things up as a leader if you are asking for their hands in cooperation and their ears for an audience without first touching their heart.
How do you touch peoples’ heart as a leader? You do that by connecting with who they are and connect with what they are going through, especially in times of crisis.
Leveraging the law of connection
There are moments in your life and career that shape who you are as a leader and what you stand for. These are your defining moments, how you handle them will either connect you more with the people you lead or distance you from them.
When the terrorists crashed planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Americans were mourning, angry, fearful, and uncertain about the future.
Four days after the attack, President Bush went to Ground Zero. He spent time with the police officers and rescue workers. He shook hands. He listened. He thanked people involved in the rescue. Cameras captured him standing in the wreckage with his arm around firefighters.
When some people in the crowd shouted that they couldn’t hear him, Bush told them, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” President Bush had connected with them, and 9/11 shaped his first term in office.
Breaking the law of connection
Just as the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, defined President Bush’s first term, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina defined his second term.
After the levees in New Orleans broke and the city was flooded, instead of visiting the city as he did in New York after 9/11, Bush flew over New Orleans, peering through Air Force One’s small window to see the damage.
To the people of New Orleans, it was a picture of indifference. Bush lost the opportunity to touch the heart of the people. He had broken the law of connection.
The rule of law of connection
When it comes to connecting with people, the heart comes before the head. You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. President Ronald Reagan was nicknamed the Great Communicator because of His ability to develop a rapport with people.
Practice the law of connection
So, how do you connect with people as a leader?
- Connect with yourself. Know who you are. Have confidence in yourself. If you don’t believe in who you are and where you want to lead people, work on that before anything else.
- Communicate with openness and sincerity. Don’t be phony. Be real. Be authentic. Be you.
- Know your audience. Learn people’s names. Find out about their histories. Ask about their dreams. When you speak to an audience, speak to what they care about, not what you care about.
- Live your message. Practice what you preach. If you don’t have credibility, you won’t last and people won’t connect with you.
As a leader, It is your job to initiate the connection with the people. If you can obey the law of connection, your people will feel valued, your organization will function better, and your leadership ability will increase.
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