Connection is the key to influence over your kids

connection empathy influence
A dad building connection

My kid isn't listening to a single request I'm making.

My first response is usually anger and frustration. When I move past that, the next question is always the same: how is my connection with them?

Relationships aren't about a single interaction or a moment in time. They are the cumulative result of every interaction leading up to that moment.

The method for influencing people, whether it is getting my kid to listen or a coworker to follow my advice is built on one attribute: connection.

Parenting and leadership have this in common. The same techniques to gain trust are crucial in both arenas. It is all about being there to build an authentic bond. Following through on promises made. Genuine caring, not transactional trades.

It can be really difficult to remember this in the heat of the moment when you want things to go your way. Pressure most likely won't make a dent though. Focusing on the connection might.

Here are four tips on building connection that work with anyone:

1. Invest Time: Dedicate time to building relationships. Spend the extra moment to ask how they are doing, how their day is, what they are feeling.

2. Active Listening: Practice active listening in all your interactions. Show genuine interest in others' perspectives and ideas.

3. Being Present: make sure you are fully attentive when spending time with others. Put your phone away and be in the moment.

4. Open Communication: Encourage open and transparent communication. Build psychological safety where others feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns.

When someone isn't doing what I want them to, I have to let go of my own ego. The moment of anger will pass. The chance to build connection will return, and it is important to be open to it and not hold the last interaction against them. Acceptance will grow the connection as well, which will in turn increase the chance that the next time I'm able to influence a little more.

Instead of thinking, "How do I get them to listen," replace it with, "How do I increase my connection." The influence you are seeking will follow.

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