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What Leaders Can Learn From Motivational Speakers

Now more than ever before, people distrust government. They distrust institutions. They distrust sales people. They distrust churches. And they distrust leadership. We don’t have a retention, sales, or customer service problem. We have a trust problem. Why don’t they trust you? Because you haven’t earned it. How do you earn it? Show them you care. KSwanson

The Unapproachable Leader

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a motivational speaker, it’s the power of being able to connect with a stranger in a short amount of time. I’m always amazed at how I am able to impact an employee’s life in moments, in a way that leadership has been unable to do in years. I know that I’m comparing apples to oranges, but still. I believe there is something leaders can learn from motivational speakers. So what is it?

The art of being approachable.

The key to trust is connection, and the secret tool of connection is story. Sharing your story, and even more important, stepping into theirs. A moment spent listening to their story, caring about what they value, and showing them you care about what they care about, is a moment very well spent. Those added-up moments create a team that is engaged and works harder for you.

Make Approachability a To-Do Not a Should-Do

As leaders, most of us already know that we need to be approachable. But somehow it never gets done. Why? Because we don’t turn the Should-Do into a To-Do. So let’s fix that.

I was at a conference recently where a leader shared her technique for engaging her team. It was brilliant, and something every single one of us could easily incorporate. What was so brilliant about her idea wasn’t the idea itself, but that she made it a weekly task and stayed committed to it.

The Mingle Hour

Sarah is in charge of managing a large team of volunteers at her hospital. Keeping them motivated is especially important to her because it’s hard to get volunteers, and they aren’t being paid. She knows that connection is key, and that it can’t be left to chance.

Every week, Sarah schedules what she calls a Mingle Hour. During this hour, she puts all other responsibilities aside and simply walks the halls chatting with the volunteers. No agenda. No “while I’m here let’s make sure you’re doing this” conversation. The goal is purely social. The goal is to notice them, to ask about their families, to show them the picture of her new dog. Sarah never misses one scheduled Mingle Hour. Period.

Sarah told me that when she first started the Mingle Hour, it really felt like a chore and a waste of time. She was so tempted to put it off, but she stuck to it. And after a while, it went from a chore, to her favorite part of the week. The volunteers have become her second family. They ask about her kids, and even show up at their soccer games. She thought she was doing something for her team, but it turned out that they were doing more for her.

That’s connection.

That’s how you get more out of your people – by showing them you care.

I believe that every single one of us can incorporate this simple concept into our business and into our life. Imagine if you dedicated one hour a week to simply showing someone that you care?

Small Change. Big Impact.

Make today the day you turn Connection from a Should-Do into a To-Do. You’ll be glad you did. And so will your team.

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