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What is a human connector?

A key part of the leadership role is facilitating the building of positive, authentic bonds across our team or organisation, and beyond.
Three people talking to each other, while holding coffee mugs as they lean on a balcony railing.
© Bailey & French Ltd.

Relationship management means creating an environment which strengthens connections and facilitates meaningful collaboration. It is essential for effective human leadership.

The three other foundations for human leadership are: authenticity, inclusivity, and role-modelling. Being a skilled human connector involves all of these. As with the other foundations, managing the relationships around us is a life-long learning journey that will never be fully mastered.

Here, we’ll be focusing on building leaders’ ability to be ‘human connectors’. A key part of the leadership role is facilitating the building of positive, authentic bonds across the people within our team or organisation, and beyond. We’ll also be building awareness of the importance of psychological safety for relationship management, and how to unlock self-confidence in the people around us.

Human connectors in practice

A persistent archetype of a leader is that of a powerful figure, in control of the people below them. They have a mission, and their role is to mobilise the team or organisation to achieve this mission. This figure is like the captain of a ship, heading to a destination with the crew all playing their part to make this journey possible. In human leadership, the emphasis changes. The destination is important, but every person’s experience of the journey is just as important. The responsibility of a human leader is to ensure everyone is thriving as much as possible, as often as possible.

This is a great responsibility for one person to bear, particularly in today’s world of work. Anxiety and feelings of isolations are chronic, the future is uncertain, and the challenges we face are complex. In this context, any leader who wants to support their people to thrive needs to be a skilled human connector.

Qualities that human connectors possess

Human connectors foster positive, deep and genuinely caring relationships. This makes people more willing to share accountability for the team or organisation’s performance and wellbeing culture. It also helps them feel part of something meaningful, human and bigger than themselves – a community or family rather than a faceless machine.

Great examples of leaders as human connectors include stewardship, servant leadership, authentic leadership and strengths-based leadership:

  • Stewardship puts leadership and management into the background and brings partnerships into the foreground. It requires a commitment from everyone that they will act in the best interests of all people connected to the organisation.
  • Servant leadership involves the building of true community spirit, fulfilling a deep human need for connection which is increasingly missing in modern life.
  • Authentic leadership contributes to feelings of authenticity, which builds a stronger sense of community.
  • Strengths-based leadership means valuing the unique strengths of each person in the organisation. This is a powerful way to build respect and deeper human connection.
© Bailey & French Ltd.
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