Years ago, I worked with a business leader who had an incredible vision for his organization. He was a passionate leader with excellent communication skills and energy for his mission. He was intellectually and morally solid and cared deeply for the people in his organization.
But he was stuck.
His organization just couldn’t grow the business past a certain industry-standard metric. However, the stagnation issue became evident as we looked over some feedback provided by his peers. One of the interview questions I ask the peers of my clients (as a routine part of my data gathering) was, "What is the vision this leader has for the organization?" After several interviews, the collective response was, “The vision is very clear, but we have no idea what steps we need to take to get started. It is like he has been dreaming of this his entire life and we are catching it for the first time."
As I presented this feedback to the leader and we processed the data together, his knee-jerk reaction was “We don’t have time to wait for them to process this. The time is now! They need to get on board or get out of the way. We are going to miss our opportunity. The timing is just right!"
So I asked,“Is it their lack of urgency, or could it be something else?”
After processing with him for a while, we discovered there was not a lack of urgency on the part of the organization. There was, however, a lack of emotional connection between the leader and his team. The urgency that the leader was feeling for vision implementation and change was being offset by his lack of emotional connection competency of patience. People in the organization need the time to absorb, process, and own the vision themselves.
Patience is devoting the appropriate time and attention to others in ways that enhance meaningful interaction.
Patience is suspending your personal need for satisfaction and action.
Patience seeks to slow down those fast-paced exchanges with others in order to facilitate better decision-making.
Patience is not racing ahead in thought process while missing information that others are endeavoring to share.
Patience is not wasting the opportunities to encourage, inspire, and motivate others.
In leader development, it is always important to keep perspective on a leader who is not connecting emotionally with his team. Without this emotional connection, it is virtually impossible to have the social intelligence needed to achieve organizational effectiveness.
There are a number of reasons a follower may choose to align with a leader. Fully committing to the vision of the leader is a quintessential desire that followers have. What they receive in return for committing to the vision of the leader is an emotional connection with that leader.
In our case study above, the leader has a choice. He can either move forward with his urgency and risk losing his entire vision. Or he can proactively slow down and take the time to encourage, inspire, and motivate his people. By embracing patience and connecting emotionally with his team, he can catapult the vision to the next level with everyone on board.
How are you connecting emotionally with your team? I’d love to hear your comments.