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Building Real Connections
Are you fueled by your relationships with others?
“A real connection is the place where you can be who you truly are, and you only surround yourself with people who can be who they truly are,” said Dr. Cloud. “It's not going to be a toxic, critical place. It's not going to be a place of happy talk and flattery where nothing gets done, but it's going to be a real place where our strengths, our weaknesses and all of that happens.”
Watch the video to learn the qualities needed in building real connections with others.
So let's look for a minute or so at what those are. The first thing a corner four connection has is something called fuel. We get fueled by relationship. You've heard it in a number of the talks today.
A number of years ago, I had my worst business failure I'd ever had. I'd sold a company and I had started a few things. I started a company, I hired a guy, I put him in charge of it. Everything was going great. You know, I wasn't that involved with it, but I owned it and he reported to me and I wasn't that involved, and I should have been, and I wasn't. I should've been and I wasn't. And he was telling me everything was going great, and we're going to make money by the end of the first year. Comes Dec. 1 he comes into my office and he says, "I need a big cash infusion to make payroll." And I'm thinking, wait a minute, I thought you were going to be writing me checks.
And I get into this and what I found is everything that he had been telling me was really plans and projections and there wasn't any substance to it. And we are at a burn rate. We're out of money, we're at a burn right now. I've got to start fueling it. This big organization, we've got other stuff. I'm writing the checks for it. Not only that, the business for the next year, it doesn't exist. It was all plans.
I go home, I'm standing outside on my patio that night and I feel like the biggest idiot. I mean, I didn't even need anybody with me to be in corner No. 2. I was doing it to myself. I felt like the stupidest human on the planet. Right about then the phone rings. And so I go answer the phone. This is before caller ID or I wouldn't have answered it. And you know who it was? It was the worst person who could've called. It was my mentor that everything he had ever touched, turned to gold. He built the financial side of Motown with the Jacksons and Supremes and all of them. And he built a huge real estate empire. And he built a technology company. And he had poured so much into me over so many years.
And he said, "So how's it going?" I said, "Well, not so great." And I told him. And I'm just waiting for that moment where he says, "How could you have, how could you, you know, are you idiot or something?" And I'm sitting there, kind of, brace for it. I've earned it. And you know what he says? He says, "Well, we've all been there." And I went, "We?" He goes, "Yeah." I said, "You?" He goes, "Oh yeah, I've done." I said, "You've done this?" He said, "Let me tell you something, anybody that's ever built anything has made that mistake."
I said, "You've made that?" He said, "Oh yeah." He said, "But once you make that mistake, you'll never make it again." And I said, "Which one?" I've got a whole pile of them here. So we talked through it and processed through it. Now, I needed new cash and I needed a plan and I needed a strategy. I needed new alliances. I had to prune a bunch of stuff. I got off the phone. I had none of those answers. But he had come to where I was. He had connected with me. He had understood it. He hadn't lost his authority, but I'm telling you the end of that phone call, I was a different person. I got off the phone, and I was ready to go attack it.
What had happened? My leader had entered into that space with me. He hadn't given me happy talk. He hadn't negated reality. But he had connected it to me where I was. And I got fuel from that. And as a psychologist, I can tell you what happened was the sewage water went out of my brain and the jet fuel started to flow. And the next morning I went and attacked it, and we put it all back together.
See, that's what people depend on you for. They depend on you for fuel, and you've got to find context and ways to move them out of disconnection or that toxic place or that happy avoiding everything place into the real place where you can do stuff. And when you do that kind of fueling as a leader and you build an organization where people live in corner four, different things are going to happen. Different things are going to happen no matter what happens outside the box, you're going to be able to deal with it.
Dr. Henry Cloud is an acclaimed leadership expert and psychologist who draws on his extensive experience in business, leadership consulting, clinical psychology, and church ministry to impart practical and effective wisdom for growing...
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