Building a Personal Connection – Lessons of Leadership
Trust, transparency, and vulnerability are the keys to connecting with others
Join Tom Brown, Executive Director of Operations at Brewer Science, as he shares inspirational leadership advice and professional growth stories.
Building personal connections is a part of your daily life. It plays a vital role in your professional success and personal growth. When you garner a community of individuals who support your endeavors, you can reach your full potential. Building personal connections might be challenging for individuals who lack the three crucial traits necessary for connecting with others. It is essential to develop trust, transparency, and vulnerability within yourself before successfully connecting with others and developing flourishing friendships in your personal and professional life. If you ever find yourself having a challenging time connecting with someone or a group of individuals, ask yourself these three questions:
Can I trust in them, and do they trust in me?
Trust is more than simply keeping your word. Trusting someone is critical to a good working relationship but trusting IN someone is more personal. You must build a personal connection if someone is going to put their trust IN you. You can trust people to tell you the truth, but would you follow them with absolute faith? You can show someone you have confidence in them by expanding their responsibilities and giving feedback on their achievements. You can show someone else they can trust you when you continuously anticipate their needs and support them—sometimes without them even having to ask for it.
Am I being open with them, and do they feel like they can be transparent with me?
Transparency is being open and not hiding an ulterior motive. When transparency exists in a relationship, both sides express their true intentions. People mistake this for selfishness, but we must realize it’s human nature to understand the value each individual brings to the table. When you connect at a transparent level, you express the value of the relationship by identifying the value they bring and the value you offer. It allows each party to grow by recognizing they have value. As a Director of Manufacturing, I recently witnessed an event of transparency. A member of our manufacturing team was recognized in a meeting for scrapping a batch of an intermediate material because he put in the wrong amount of an ingredient. We gave him a gift certificate for his catch because he identified something wrong, investigated it, pulled in an engineer, and stopped the batch. It saved us from scrapping a final batch worth five times more money and the potential negative impact on the customer. He did the right thing by being transparent, and we rewarded his trust.
Am I owning my mistakes and allowing others to see my flaws?
Vulnerability fosters good emotional and mental health because it helps you work through your emotions easier (rather than pushing them away). You can express vulnerability by sharing your side and owning your mistakes. It’s extending trust first, openly, and without fear. Essentially, you are silently saying: “Here are my flaws. I know them, and you need to know them too so that we can overcome them together.” It’s not simply sharing a secret that you don’t want to be shared. It’s sharing your place in the story with that person and creating a personal connection. There is no place for ego. You can’t “create” vulnerability; you can only exhibit vulnerability. Most will see it as not being genuine or simply fake. You may fool someone at first as they merely want it to be so, but when the truth comes out, as it always does, the trust will be forever broken. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness but a demonstration of strength and courage. People want that in their leaders. People need to believe that their flaws and mistakes do not define them. By being vulnerable, you build trust and show them that their past is not limiting them but simply a building block.
Building personal connections is essential to your personal growth and the development of the people around you. It is critical to refine trust, transparency, and vulnerability within yourself and your relationships so you can garner a community of individuals who support your endeavors and allow you to reach your full potential.
Brewer Science is a company that believes deeply in sustaining long-term success through value-based culture, diversity, and growth. Learn more about Brewer Science’s company culture.