This week, President Elect Joe Biden becomes President Joe Biden as he sworn into office.
The task ahead is incredible , to heal division , to save people’s lives from the deadly virus , to rebuild the economy and hope. President Biden has a pedigree* of leadership, stateman-ship and humanity. As one of the most powerful people on the planet, he has to hand the resources and expertise to change the world. So, what extra does a rescue dog offer?
In the days immediately after the announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would come into office as president and vice president respectively, one of the most popular trending items on Twitter featured Joe’s rescue dogs – Major and Champ. But if the mark of a good leader is their success, their drive or ability to formulate and deliver strategy then why would this be?
It's because, as followers, we have as much desire to connect to leaders as leaders do to connect to us.
· Does the rescue dog formulate military policy?
· Does he revolutionise the schools process to give the very best foundation to children across the US? Feels like it would be a great spin off though!
No, the rescue dog gives us an insight into character. As followers or even just as observers, we project our own values or our own supposed values onto Biden. We look at his long marriage and make assumptions (which in previous presidencies haven't been completely true) about their own personal values of marriage, family, respect.
I haven't been the president of the US, and I don't own a dog. That's probably why 😊. All joking aside, I have found that authenticity, and the willingness to open even the smallest window into my life has enriched my relationships with other people at work. It has made me more relatable, it has giving me more credibility, and has talked more about my personal values then I could fit onto a business card.
For some leaders, and in some industries, this might feel a more natural style of leadership. I don't hesitate that for others it feels an alien concept. Fearing that the sharing of private details makes you more vulnerable and therefore less strong.
Don't worry if you're that person. We all know an over-sharer. I've seen connexion built in other ways too . Connection can be built through observation, humour, narration over the smallest details around. Connection can be superficial, but as long as it is there it builds relatability. Relatability is the first step to openness and honesty and those steps build into trust which builds into loyalty.
Don't worry , you aren't making Facebook friends with everybody, you're not having everyone over for dinner , your Christmas card list might get longer but that's not a bad thing. Just taking 5 to 10 minutes each day to stop and relate to someone else (even if that 5 minutes is spread as 10x30 second waves). It’s harder in Zoom land but every day I’m hearing more examples of one-to-one conversations that consciously start with that question and team-building activities to encourage connection.
I would add this activity into the most valuable 20% of time you can spend building into your business.
*no pun intended honest
Get Leadership Lessons In Your Inbox
Want more leadership lessons like this? Join Elements - neon juno’s weekly newsletter to get leadership insights sent to your inbox every week.