With the current lockdowns in Australia, we need to navigate the path of uncertainty yet again.

We need to adapt to leading and working in a hybrid environment, homeschooling, keeping businesses going and in the process stay happy, motivated and optimistic.

Now, more than ever, connection is key, both to ourselves and those around us in and out of the workplace.

As leaders, we try to speak with our teams so they can hear what we have to say, but we don’t always choose the appropriate time or space to ensure everyone is present and engaged. If we did, we would have ensured greater buy-in, and provided a forum for structured conversation, input from the team and dedicated time to go deeper. This, overall, would have made the message more intentional, the discussion and engagement would be deeper, and the interaction more memorable and well-received.

Attention is the equivalent of oxygen in building relationships.

Leadership Benefits

Friendships and relationships require emotion, and Dunbar believes touch is more powerful than words – something we cannot access virtually on social networks. Many of us have thousands of followers on social media platforms; however, these so-called connections are rare in the physical form.

If we exceed the magic number, it is unlikely that all the relationships in our network will last long or cohere well. The key barriers include the cognitive challenge of keeping track of more than 150 people and the time to build and maintain these relationships.

There are six ways in which you can build a deeper connection with others.

To download the model click here.

  1. Apply Dunbar’s model.
  2. Communicate
  3. Lock in personal time with people
  4. Build rapport
  5. Have a curious mindset
  6. Network

It is vital as we continue with lockdowns and uncertainty that we continue to take the time to connect with ourselves and others. Remaining connected builds and strengthens deep relationships and interactions, much needed in the busyness of the world today and more so online.

People in leadership need to connect deeply to gain trust, rapport, influence and buy-in. When a conductor leads an orchestra, trust, rapport and connection must be present for the performance to be of a high standard. These are people skills rather than technical skills. Leading people requires a focus on people before process and progress. Failing to connect is failing to lead.

We also all need to be open, honest and bold and provide feedback in real-time, even if it causes a disconnection, for example, when delivering constructive or confronting feedback. I believe a workplace culture strong in feedback and gratitude will always trump a transactional performance-based culture.

Clear, concise and open communication is key. Be honest and present and listen deeply. Build rapport by being a bit more like the other person.

In my latest book Gift Mindset®, I deep dive into the Gift of Connection to explore at a deeper level. Did you know that scientific research shows that human connection makes us healthier, happier and more productive?

Here are my 11 keys to deepening your connections with colleagues, loved ones and yourself.

The 11 Keys to Connection

1 Be present

2 Build rapport

3 Communicate openly

4 Show empathy

5 Have compassion for self and others

6 Have a curious mindset

7 Reinforce positives & provide feedback

8 Master your social skills

9 Show appreciation

10 Adopt a Gift Mindset

11 Share a story to connect

Click here to download The 11 Keys to Connection infographic.