Every leader has their specific set of natural strengths. Some call these “hardwired” strengths. I have even heard them described as “pre-wired” strengths. No matter what you call them, the best leaders learn to lean on them and develop them to better serve their goals.
Does This Describe You?
- You strongly believe that there are no coincidences in life.
- Everything that has ever happened to you is connected.
- You are a part of something larger than yourself; it is clear to you there is an existing inherent unity between you and everyone else.
- Because these connections are so obvious to you, people often come to you to bridge the gaps.
- Whether it’s between two people, teams, or processes, you know that each plays its part, each has its affects, and you see where they all converge.
If this describes you, then you possess the strength of Connectedness.
“I am who I am because of who we all are.” ~Ubuntu
Leading Like Mandela
Nelson Mandela, perhaps one of the most influential, important, and well known leaders the world has seen, is a great example of Ubuntu leadership, or leading with Connectedness.
In 2008, he describes Ubuntu as:
“… the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
People with Connectedness understand that though we are all individuals who make our own decisions, our decisions and actions do not exist in isolation, they affect the world at large.
Connecting the Dots
As a leader with Connectedness, you have the innate ability to bring people and processes together.
You do this by connecting the dots between the past, present, and future.
Your dynamic view of the world creates stability in an uncertain world by focusing people on the whole and highlighting the links between seemingly disparate phenomena. Where someone might be at a loss to identify what the problem is, you are not. This is because you are able to see all of the factors playing a part in the situation.
This is extremely advantageous as a leader because you are able to provide guidance to everyone, no matter how different they are or what the situation is.
As a coach and mentor, you are able to put things into perspective for your followers, and guide them along their chosen path. You are able to provide hope because you know there is meaning beyond everyday existence.
For anyone strong in Connectedness, it is important that they are in an environment that honors their strong faith and intrinsic belief in the connections between people and actions.
While each person’s values will look different, they are strong and important to the core of that person.
If they feel that the work they are doing is harming others or does not serve a greater purpose, they will be dissatisfied and most likely leave.
If you are a leader with Connectedness, conflict resolution is built into your job description. Take advantage of this and really lean into that role. You have a natural ability to build bridges between different groups, team members, and departments within your organization.
You will be able to show different people how each relies on the other. You can become an exceptional team builder, even outside of your own team.
Leading a Connector
If you are leading someone with Connectedness, try to understand what their Connectedness means for them. Some people with this theme find it important to focus on their impact on the environment, while others may find it important to do good deeds for other people in order to create positive “karma” in their own lives.
It will look different for each person, so it’s important for you to know how it works for your specific employee.
Regardless, people with this theme enjoy being a part of something larger than themselves- utilize this by identifying opportunities for that person to make a greater contribution to projects they feel strongly about.
If you need someone to be in charge of selecting and organizing a company philanthropy, you may want to call on that person. If you need someone to start a recycling initiative, you should go to this person first. Strategically, this is smart for you because you won’t have to explain “Why” to this person, they will already see the connections, and you are giving them an opportunity to be a part of something greater than themselves.
It’s a win/win and, I think you’ll agree, as a leader, there’s almost nothing better.
Do you know anyone with Connectedness? If you do, how do they display it? If you have Connectedness, is it easy for you to relate ostensibly unrelated events to each other? How has that helped you in your career? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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Great work, Lexy! In a few hours I am going to coach someone with Connectedness in Top 5. Your timing is perfect. Or as you might say, “Everything happens for a reason….” 🙂