NCLS Research

Connect: Build Mutual Connections

Strength 2 of the 12 Leadership Strengths
(refer pages 58-65 of Lead with your Strengths)

To Build Mutual Connections

It takes time to earn authority and respect. There are no short cuts. It begins with getting to know people and working together with them to build a mutual connection.

Leaders need to earn trust - whether or not they are in positions of formal authority – by making their contributions carefully and openly, rather than imposing ideas or suggestions. Even organisations whose leaders have significant positional authority are discovering that this is important. Research in the corporate sector, for instance, suggests that centralised, top-down decision making is less effective than that which involves staff at all levels.

Leaders who build mutual connections spend time around the various constituencies that make up their communities, connecting and networking in ways that build trust and foster listening, respect and mutual commitment.

These leaders work with and through people, building teams, alliances, networks, becoming a trusted part of the social fabric. They come in alongside others; discover common interests and build trust and networks that can operate mutually. In this process they become part of the networks that exist rather than outside of them.

Their networking with people and groups seeks to lift up and identify common interests and threads in individual’s passions, hopes and dreams. Through this they can start to generate common purpose and a solid platform for new possibilities and new initiatives in the future. Strong mutual connections may also be important for developing significant alliances with other groups and organisations, extending a group’s leverage far beyond itself.

Developing this strength:

  • give time to developing relationships
  • seek ways to work together with other groups and people
  • understand the groups and organisations you connect with
  • build connections and look for allies beyond your own group
  • listen to dissident voices as well as supportive ones
  • encourage people who have links with groups beyond the community
  • value the people and groups you network with
  • ask who is missing from groups & networks and involve them

Build mutual connections - coming alongside others, growing networks around common interests or hopes, and building a solid platform from which new possibilities can emerge.

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