Leaders often tell me they struggle to connect with their staff, but a lot of times that is down to the fact that they have not taken a genuine interest in the people they lead.
When you show your people you are invested in them, they invest back in you and one of the key ways to show you are invested is to take an interest in them and what they do.
As a father, one of the ways I connect with children is playing Adopt Me with my kids. The game features two parties, a baby and a parent. There are four of these needs the parent must tend to, otherwise, the baby will be unhappy. Players also adopt pets, including basic ones likes dog and cats, or rare pets such as wolves, griffins, unicorns etc which you need to look after because they have the same moods as babies and they can be taught tricks by the pet trainer at the school. Babies cannot hold pets or put pets in strollers, but parents can.
This is a chance for them to bring me into their world and even though I don’t complete get it they appreciate it because it shows I am genuinely interested in them which is how you develop a good relationship.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” — Dale Carnegie
Dr. Trevor Boffone, a Spanish teacher at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas wanted to connect with his students, so he took an interest in what the kids were into which was Dubmash videos and once they knew he was for real the kids began to teach him.
“While it feels great to be recognized for my teaching, fame is not why I do it. I do it to help my students. I do it to show my students that I care about them beyond the content of my class. I do it because I care about their cultures and identities. I do it to create a more inclusive classroom. I do it because my students are visible. They matter.” — Dr. Trevor Boffone
When leaders taking an interest in their people by asking questions, by listening, by observing, they begin to understand what motivates and drives the people they lead. The are able to build good relationships and get the best out of their people.