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The Power of Authentic Connection

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."  Anthoine de Saint Exupery

This French laureate obviously understood that you can't force people into the direction you want them to go. Even fear can fail if the stakes are high enough.  This truth leaves many leaders with the question "how do I motivate my followers or employees to do what I need them to do?".  The answer is to first connect employees or followers with what has intrinsic meaning to them -  their passion, dreams, hopes. Through this connection the positive energy that lies within each person can be accessed and released. A leader becomes the spark and the resulting energy allows for movement. Once the energy is ignited, a leader has the opportunity to influence the direction of that energy.

How does a leader encourage the connection of an individual to his/her own energy source? Primarily through authentic inquiry and listening. Since we live in a culture where listening is generally for the purpose of getting the information the listener wants and questioning's only purpose is to get the information the inquirer wants, these actions are seldom connecting or energizing. To listen authentically is to hear what the speaker wants to convey; to question authentically is to be curious about what the speaker is conveying from his or her point of view. These authentic actions bring the other person fully into the conversation. It is here that the connection is made and speaker and listener begin to move along the same path.

Listening to Influence

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