I recently read an article by a guy named Peter Vajda titled So You Think You Can Lead. In the post, he talks about the need to be able to make an emotional connection with your employees, and he compares it to a couple participating in a dancing competition and how they can only be really good when they connect with each other emotionally because that's where trust comes from.

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Creative Commons License Scott Maxwell via Compfight

The days of autocratic rule are coming to an end for the most part. Even in a tough economy, employers are learning that when they exert perceived power in unfair ways workers will rebel, whether it's en masse by strike or by just up and quitting without giving notice. When an employee is willing to give up their accumulated vacation time because they just have to get away from you, that's when it's time to reflect on your style of leadership.

No one is saying that you need to have kumbaya moments. I don't want anyone going into the office one day, sitting in the middle of the floor, crying and then asking everyone to join in for a group hug. Frankly, that thought makes me cringe. 🙂 Instead, being able to engage employees with even a simple "hello" in the morning is a great start to opening communications to a comfortable enough level where tension is released and employees get the sense that you the leader at least likes them.

How important is that? Think about yourself for a moment. Even if you're self motivated, don't you feel good when someone gives you a compliment? And doesn't feeling good make you want to try harder, even if it's only for yourself?

So many people underestimate motivation but it's a powerful tool that's easy to do. A greeting when meeting people; taking a moment or two to talk to someone; allowing others to share their opinions with you about work related issues; what harm is there in any of this, especially when the benefits can be wondrous?

If this isn't your style you should seriously think about changing up just a bit. Remember, as a leader, it's not all about you. If you think it is, have everyone leave for a day and you try to do everyone's job yourself; you'll change your tune real quick.