In 1972, President Richard Nixon, who signed the National Cancer Act into law in 1971 during his first term, had one of the highest electoral votes with a 96.65% win; he was the first president to visit a nation not recognized by our own government, Australia. President Nixon also liked to give the peace sign. On one of his visits to Australia, it ended differently than the others. When he was boarding the plane to leave, he gave the peace sign with the back of his hand facing out instead of facing in. For Australians, this hand gesture means the opposite of peace! He failed to learn his audience and in turn accidentally offended the whole country of Australia.
One trait a good leader should have is connecting with people. In Nixon’s case, it was an honest mistake and he didn’t connect with the people of Australia at that moment, but we can learn from his mistake.
Some people follow leaders because of their leadership title, but it is better to have people who want to follow their leadership. This is not instantly achievable. However, if leaders focus on the needs and desires of their team and connect with them, they can move from having people following because it is required to having people willing to follow. John C Maxwell says, “If a leader can develop a team of people who like each other and get tasks completed, it is a powerful combination.”
According to an article from CNBC, here are a few examples a leader can use to connect with his/her team members:
- Give employees a voice
- Hear what your team members are actually saying
- Empower, ask, and listen
- Embrace random connections
- Help every employee reach their goals
- Know that team members are the greatest asset
Great leaders are leaders that do more than just get things done. They have the ability to connect and empower their team to grow and soar. Try making this a priority as a leader this week!
Maxwell, John. Developing the Leader Within You. 1st ed., Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2012.