In his award winning best seller, We Were Soldiers Once and Young, Lt. General Hal Moore, spoke this basic leadership lesson to his new junior officers when he took command of the newly formed 2nd battalion of the 7th Cavalry in 1965, that to lead your people effectively, you must be with them. While board rooms and business suites are not battlefields, the parallels in basic core competencies of engaged leadership are strikingly similar. All new leaders, in the Army or any industry, must realize that for people to truly follow your lead, they first must believe that you, as their leader have their best interests at heart.
This belief is grounded in a positive emotional connection between the leader and the followers. This connection is created in the daily experience of the leader’s behavior. This connection is sustained in the consistent daily experience of matching the leader’s words to the leader’s behavior. It is in this positive connection that engaged employees have a sense of ownership and personal connection to their work that results in higher levels of productivity and organizational performance.