Column: Connect to lead


Commentary by Randy Wheeler

In one of my first jobs, I had the responsibility of leading a large group of people. These were teenagers, so as you can imagine, they were not always the easiest to lead. The problem is I was bad!

Because of the role, my primary thought was control and process. This was essential for productivity, but in the long run, it hurt me. I was not thinking like a leader, but like a manager.

When I serve organizations and introduce myself by providing a leadership training at no cost, I explain the difference in detail between leading and managing. Here are a couple highlights. A leader thinks about the big picture and doing the right things while a manager thinks about controls and doing things right. Both are essential, but if we only manage, we fail to think big enough to lead into the future. What does all this have to do with connecting?

In that role, I was concerned more about the right-controlled environment and I failed to slow down enough to connect with those I led. I was leading from an unconscious desire to control and my leadership method was fear.

After observing other successful leaders, I began to see how they would build strong relationships connecting with those they led. In order to effectively lead others, we must connect. Maybe these tips will help:

  • Slow down: Take time to get to know those you lead personally.
  • Share appropriately: Let those you lead know a little about you that will connect with what is important to them.
  • Listen: We all would rather be heard than hear.

What is one way you can connect better with those you lead at work or home? Implement it today. Lead well.

Randy Wheeler is a local resident and owner of Wheeler Coaching Systems. If you want Randy to provide a leadership training to your organization or team, then email him at

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