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Connection - The Key to Great Utility Leadership

Image used with permission.

Just stand by the exit doors of your utility operations and watch people’s faces light up when they leave your work locations.  Why is that?  Because now that work is over, they get to go do what they really love to do.

Great utility leaders change that.  Great leaders Connect People To what they really want to do while they are still at work.

Connecting With People

In my last article, How Do Great Utility Leaders Connect, I explained the importance of Connecting With People. Connecting With People simply means the ability to reach people’s hearts as well as their minds. We don’t pledge our greatest passion to a good business plan; we put forth our greatest effort and energy to leaders who are passionate about their business. People will reach pretty deep and “give it their all” when they feel really connected with a great leader. The way we Connect With People is on a human level, using our emotions. Check out the full article to learn the two steps to Connecting With People.

But Connecting With People is only half of the solution to be a great utility leader; The other half is Connecting To.

Connecting To

Connecting To simply means drawing the shortest line between someone’s personal goals and the mission of the organization. When people feel your organization is a great place to realize or live out their best talents, passions and ambitions, they do great work to benefit the organization.

Some people call it getting people in the right seat on the bus. That’s what we learned in the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins. That’s important, but I think Connecting To requires more than having people work in their specific area of strength. It is about finding ways that people can do what they are passionate about, what they care deeply about and what they love to do. Of course, it must also be something worthy that contributes to what the company needs. Good leaders connect people’s passions with the goals of the organization.

For me, it was public speaking. One of my past supervisors knew that I loved public speaking and that was what I really wanted to do. Even though I was an operations guy, he frequently gave me the opportunity to give speeches inside and outside of our utility company. I was not the official company spokesperson, so why did he have me doing that? Because that’s how he connected me to the mission of the organization. My face would light up while I was still at work. He was a great leader because he could see what people really wanted to do, and he used that to Connect People To the greater mission of the organization.

For others it might be design work, community service or R&D. Those are all functions and worthy tasks that all our companies need done.

Break Down Barriers

Connecting With People and then Connecting People To the organization are central to the action plan of being a great, emotionally present leader. Emotions matter greatly in leadership because when we Connect With individuals on an emotional level, we discover what propels them to action and marshals their resolve. Once we know what motivates people, we can then Connect People To the organization in a meaningful way.

Great Leaders discover what people really want for themselves and use that to Connect People To the organization.

Be an Emotionally Present Leader!

Doug Sterbenz's picture

Thank Doug for the Post!

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Apr 18, 2019 2:19 pm GMT


As always great post. As leaders we get so involved in the day to day that we forget about the people who help make our companies great!  Also, part of this starts with hiring the right people who not only fit the job description but the culture of your company.  Once you have hired the right people, then you need to make sure you understand their desires and wishes - this is espcially true for the newer generation coming into the workforce!  

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