Connect with people in a way that builds trust and relationships.
Leadership is about stewardship. The stewardship of personal gifts, resources, abilities, and skills. It is our responsibility as leaders to steward or manage our resources well. The most powerful resources we have in leadership is people and in order to create momentum in our teams, we need to know how to connect and build both trust and relationships. We cannot move people to action unless we first move them with emotion.
Assignment 1 // Read the Scripture passage and answer the questions
Assignment 2 // Read the selection below from John Maxwell’s 21 Minutes In A Leader’s Day .
Assignment 3 // Make a list of ways you have connected with leaders in the past. How would you create an environment for a team or group you might lead to connect with you?
Assignment 4 // Interview a volunteer who serves in the community or at church that you respect and ask them what they’ve experienced that makes them feel most connected on their team.
Assignment 5 // Observe a leader you look up to as they connect with their teams. What was effective about their interactions? What would you do differently? What should you never do?
Assignment 6 // List 5 -7 characteristics of great connection. Which is most valuable to you and why?
1 Kings 1 1:41-43, 12: 1-33, 14:21-31
Great leaders take the time to become effective, they continually put their people first. If you do not take the time to connect with people you will not be able to lead them effectively. A leader is not really a leader until he has connected with his people.
"41 Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?”
42 And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.”
43 “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king!"
"1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”
10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”
15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded, “Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
Look out for your own house, O David!”
So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.
18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.
20 When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David.
21 When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he mobilized the men of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—180,000 select troops—to fight against the men of Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself.
22 But God said to Shemaiah, the man of God, 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded.
25 Jeroboam then built up the city of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and it became his capital. Later he went and built up the town of Peniel. 12:25 Hebrew Penuel, a variant spelling of Peniel.
26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. 27 When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.”
28 So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!”
29 He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan—at either end of his kingdom. 30 But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there.
3 1Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people—those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, 12:32 This day of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in late October or early November, exactly one month after the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah. There at Bethel he himself offered sacrifices to the calves he had made, and he appointed priests for the pagan shrines he had made. 33 So on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a day that he himself had designated, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar at Bethel. He instituted a religious festival for Israel, and he went up to the altar to burn incense."
"21 Meanwhile, Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from among all the tribes of Israel as the place to honor his name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman.
22 During Rehoboam’s reign, the people of Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, provoking his anger with their sin, for it was even worse than that of their ancestors. 23 For they also built for themselves pagan shrines and set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 24 There were even male and female shrine prostitutes throughout the land. The people imitated the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. 26 He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. 27 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 28 Whenever the king went to the
Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom.
29 The rest of the events in Rehoboam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 30 There was constant war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 When Rehoboam died, he was buried among his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman. Then his son Abijam became the next king."
Considering the context above, what three traits do you see in Rehoboam that kept him from connecting to his people? What effects did this have on his leadership?
If you could pick 1 thing to change in the life of Rehoboam to help him connect with people better, what would it be?
What 3-4 underlying values do you think that Rehoboam communicated to his people in navigating the transition of leadership? How did those affect his leadership and the people he was leading?
How could he have handled the situation differently that could have lead to a different outcome?
Connection Requires Intentional Effort:
Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask For A Hand
Connect with yourself
You will reproduce what you are in your teams, so before you try and connect with others learn about yourself. One of the easiest ways to connect with others and learn about yourself is but asking this question to those on your team. “What is it like to be on the other side of me” then use their responses as a way to learn about how you listen, care, hear, and respond.
Communicate with openness and sincerity
Be honest, honesty paves the path to intimacy and that is where trust is formed. Your team doesn’t need to you be perfect they need you to be honest. Both with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Live your Message
Your ability to connect with others will flow naturally from you if you’re practicing what you preach. If you talk all day about connection but at the end don’t listen well you will find yourself alone. It is those people that communicate with their words and actions that have staying power and authority to lead.
Know your audience
Leadership is stewardship, especially when it comes to the people you lead. You will never be able to connect with your team if you don’t spend time getting to know them. Ask question, listen, and learn. There is not great way to help people on your team connect than by getting to know them.
Communicate on Others’ Level
As you learn about yourself and about the others on your team, you will also begin to see that they communicate differently. It is our job as leaders to do the hard work by learning and adapting to their needs for communication. It isn't what you say, often it’s how you say it. And nothing can eliminate connection and trust quicker than a misplaced communication.
Believe in People
It’s one thing to want connection in order to boss people around, its another to help them realize their contribution to the kingdom. It is our jobs to be champions of people at every turn. To encourage, to cheer on, to help get the obstacles out of the way.
Offer direction and hope
Ultimately we want to offer direction and hope towards a proffered future that includes our people and their investment in the kingdom. When a leader has done the hard work of connection and building trust it is evident in the relationships they have, the direction of their teams, and the outcomes of their projects. Building Connection and trust is the invisible currency that creates an opportunity to move any team from here to there.
When connection and trust are built, people feel honored and enthusiastic about being part of teams, the community, and the church. More importantly, they will be more effective at connecting others as well. We win people to what we win people with. Lets win them with connection and trust. If we as leaders can build trust and establish a connection with people then we will be people consistently looked to as the leaders. Leadership is influence and influence is carried by those that are trusted and connected.
How readily do you connect with people?
In your past experience, which of the above characteristics would have helped a leader or boss connect with you? How could you act differently in their position?
What is an experience where a boss, supervisor, or leader connected poorly with you? How do you wish they would have acted differently?
What changes are you willing to make to improve your ability to connect?
What are 3-5 key characteristics in leaders you respect?
Which of the seven steps do you think will be the most challenging for you? Which will be the easiest for you? Why?
What challenged you the most from the “Law of Connection Chapter”? Why?
What action steps do you need to take over the next 30 days to improve connecting and building trust with people?