Imagine that you could maximize connection and productivity in your relationships at work. Author Michael Gelb takes us on an empowering journey with his book The Art of Connection: 7 Relationship-Building Skills Every Leader Needs Now. Gelb writes:
“I’ve discovered that the most powerful catalyst for inspiring creative breakthroughs, and for translating those breakthroughs into sustainable innovations, is to guide people to connect with one another first, before trying to solve a problem.”
Gelb emphasizes that connection is vital so a leader can act in a positive and influential manner. He writes: “In those first crucial moments of reaction, I learned to bring my attention to my breathing and to slow it down. I adjust my posture so it’s free from the fight-or-flight orientation, and then I contemplate this transformative question: ‘How would I think/feel about this action/comment if I did not take it personally?’” (p. 90).
Gelb’s book demonstrates that we can internalize true wisdom when we hear great stories amplified by key insights and methods.
I’ll always remember Gelb’s story (on page 154) titled “Be My Girlfriend.” Gelb’s friend, Alice, was enduring multiple disasters simultaneously: marriage falling apart, diagnosis of melanoma, and trouble at work. Alice said to Gelb, “I need you to be my girlfriend this evening…. I’m really hurting. I’m frightened and discouraged. All of my guy friends are trying to give me advice to help me deal with this mess that is my life. Right now, I don’t want any advice. I just need you to be present with me and listen, more like what my best female friend does for me.”
Gelb agreed. On page 155, he writes: “It wasn’t easy. My mind wandered. I wanted to make jokes to ease the tension. But instead I chose to be quiet and just be with her as deeply as possible. At the end of the evening Alice gave me a big hug and thanked me enthusiastically. She called me the next day to say that she was feeling encouraged and that our time together was just what she needed.”
Having learned this process, Gelb now askes clients and friends who seek his counsel: “Would you like me to just be present and listen, or shall I ask you facilitative questions to help you figure it out for yourself, or do you want me to tell you what to do?” (p. 155)
On page 183, Gelb begins his powerful chapter “Turn Friction into Momentum.” Immediately, I was intrigued with this idea. Gelb includes the insights of a hostage negotiator, George Kohlreiser. For over forty years, Kohlreiser successfully talked down distraught individuals on the verge of killing people. Kohlreiser says, “I always speak to the hostage taker with respect for his dignity and show interest in him. I ask questions rather than making statements or demands. Questions inspire engagement and are the essence of dialogue.” (p. 207)
Dialogue is crucial. I know this personally in my own work. As the Spoken Word Strategist, serving clients and audiences, I realize that I’m often addressing leaders. In any meeting, people are leading others with their words and empathy (or lack of empathy). It’s not always about a job title. Someone in the room can kill a valuable idea with one well-timed snarky remark or sigh.
My friend, I invite you to truly raise the level of your leadership skills. Improve your listening skills, empathize with people well, support their dignity and guide them to fulfill the best in themselves. Sure, this increases the bottom line. Additionally, this improves the work environment for all.
Michael Gelb’s book The Art of Connection: 7 Relationship-Building Skills Every Leader Needs Now gives you the insights, methods and life-enhancing stories to help you create the positive change we need to bring real solutions and blessings to this world.
This is a great book to help us all, as Michael Gelb says, create “a more creative, enlightened, and compassionate world.”
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, over 40 books
P.S. New Opportunity: Sept. 23, 2017 — Sofia University helps you use Authentic Marketing so you can serve more clients/customers:
The Sofia University MBA Program has invited Tom Marcoux to step on campus and teach enrolling Sept 23, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. They are also offering the workshop online. This is a workshop. You will not only hear about the methods. You will work with partners and practice the methods. You can also bring your current marketing materials and work to improve them. Limited seating (Limited tickets to attend ONLINE)! Get your ticket when you CLICK HERE.
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