Leaders need to connect with their reports. For lots of reasons. But one big reason stands out. Leaders who connect with their reports get the kind of performance that is good for the employee and great for the business.
But how? Especially when your workplace is fast and fluid not allowing for as much 1:1 time as you’d like?
Use Connectors. A Connector is a brief phrase you can direct at reports, anytime, that unite you, the employee, and the behavior you want to see.
This is nothing new. In fact, you may have had a coach use Connector phrases that shaped your performance as a player in high school or college.
To get you started, here are 10 Connector phrases you can put into practice in your present leadership role:
1. “I’m proud of you.”
Professional and personal growth must be recognized. It may be obvious or not. When you see employees develop over time, let them know. Hearing from you can be a moving experience. Don’t be surprised if there are tears.
2. “I know you can do this.”
Not every employee has had a boss who was in their corner. In fact, it’s likely many have not. As leaders and managers, it’s important for everyone on your team to know that you believe in them and that you know they are capable of doing what you and the organization are asking them to do.
3. “That was impressive.”
When a teammate does something great, let them know you’re impressed. This motivates a lot of people to “do it again”.
4. “Thank you!”
When our colleagues are putting their heart and soul into the task, the grind or a rush job, a simple “thank you” is a powerful connector. Look them in the eye and say it.
5. “I need you to step up and be a leader.”
Do you need someone to step up and act like a leader when you’re not around? Lots of leaders do. Let the right team member know. Then pay attention to how they respond.
6. “I love your effort.”
Not everyone in your group is at the same talent level. True. But everyone can bring maximum effort to the day’s work. Point it out when it’s being demonstrated.
7. “That’s a great job, and here’s why…”
Saying “good job” is not always enough. Take “good job” to the next level and let your report know WHY you liked what they did. This gives everyone clarity and precision about what you are looking for from them.
8. “This group/department needs you to be more (vocal, consistent, proactive, etc).”
Everyone needs to understand their role on the team, and exactly what it looks like when they are performing in their role. If they do, then they know their contribution to the task at hand or the larger mission of the business. Help them with this “connector”.
9. “I love the way you responded to adversity there.”
There is adversity in every human endeavor. The marketplace dishes up more than enough to go around. When an employee handles a tough situation well, point it out. Empathy from a leader counts. Many imagine that as a leader you don’t experience adversity the way they do. Let them know you see and know what they are going through.
10. “I appreciate the attitude you bring to work every day.”
Attitude counts just as much as talent and experience. Reports who bring a positive attitude day in and day out set the standard for everyone. Let them know attitude matters to you.
Have you used or heard a Connector that I left out or is unique to your experience? What is it?