"Connecting to Lead" – Influence Magazine

Connecting to Lead

by Chris Railey

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t find the right thing to say? You stumble over your words or trip over long pauses. Or maybe you find yourself in awkward situations, unsure of whether to just walk away or lean in closer. You feel trapped without a way of escape.

Maybe you’re on the other side. You are never at a loss for a topic of conversation. You don’t know a stranger and can connect freely and easily with anyone. People gravitate toward you and want to be around you.

If we had a choice, we would all want to be in the second category, not the first. For some of us, it comes easy. For others, it’s a lot of work. But whether you are an expert at it or not, you can always grow in your ability to relate to others.

We call this relational intelligence. Somewhat like emotional intelligences, it’s a new way to look at how you lead and how you can maximize that leadership. It’s also a skill you can hone and sharpen.

Steve Saccone has helped so many leaders with this. His book Relational Intelligence is the standard for improving your ability to connect with others, especially those you lead. Here’s how he defines relational intelligence: “Relational intelligence is the ability to learn, understand, and comprehend knowledge as it relates to interpersonal dynamics.”

We need to learn to read others and ourselves and understand how we interact together. We need to understand why we relate to some deeply and others less so. And we need to master those dynamics if we hope to be competent leaders...