The 5 pillars to authentically connect and engage with your team

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 10:45
The 5 pillars to authentically connect and engage with your team

According to a US survey published in the Harvard Business Review [1], 91% of employees say communication and connection issues are major problems - hindering performance, purpose and engagement overall. If you’re failing to make genuine connections with your direct reports, then you may want to reconsider your approach. Regardless of technology and automations in place, there is nothing more powerful than a leader who truly connects and engages with those around them.

Leading well requires a master blend of tangible and intangible skills. If you’re serious about a purpose driven high performing organisation then "faking it till you make it" is not an option.

Here are five key pillars to authentically connect and engage your teams at any stage and size of business:

  1. Know Your Values
  2. Know Their Values
  3. Listen
  4. Keep Learning
  5. Continue to Lead

Know Your Values

Chances are you have some great marketing statements for your company - are these aligned and truly demonstrated? We are our own personal brand, even within an organisation. Recalibrating on your why, vision and values on a regular basis is vital for leadership.

  • Know your purpose for the business as well as yourself. Only then can you consistently practice what you preach and make decisions based on experience, insight and intuition combined.

If your teams do not know what motivates you on the deepest level then you’re missing a huge opportunity. Share your authentic why.

Know Their Values

Recognising achievements and understanding what motivates the people within your company is mandatory for authentic connection and engagement.

  • Do you know what the single most important value is for each of your staff.
  • What motivates them to work, how they like to be rewarded and where recognition plays a role in connection and pride?

It’s not always money, it could be kindness, family, legacy or impact? Assessing this is much easier than you think and the results can be remarkable.


Your people are the heartbeat of your organisation. Railroading them with “how things are done’ without taking measured time to listen and create a conscious connection is a slippery slope.

  • Are you recognising the small milestones and boosting morale with vision sharing when it’s needed most?

67% of executives from the Interact survey stated lack of recognition of achievements was the biggest problem they had with their managers.

The greatest gift you can provide to anyone at any level is your time. Break down the barriers of “us and them”. Be visible, allow a safe space for open conversation and use performance reviews to touch on personal as well as commercial goals.

  • Ensure comments are acknowledged so you build a culture where it’s safe to share.


As we lead we can get further removed from day to day business and interactions. One of the greatest assets we ever have is the people who are connected to our customers.

  • Keeping your finger on the pulse within the organisation and your clients’ needs ensures you remain agile and proactive.

Learn from your staff - integrate employee and executive feedback in a streamlined and constructive way.

  • Allow a good idea system, create a filter for assessment that can allow all ideas to be considered and the great ones to filter through. A good example of this is Private Flight, a NZ based global business who encourage innovation and ideas and provide a structured framework for them to be submitted and reviewed.


At the end of the day there is a reason you founded this company or are in a place of responsibility and authority. You must lead with clarity and conviction. Use your experience to make good decisions - and allow your staff to feedback, however at the end of the day you need to steer the ship.

  • Be clear on your vision, ensure a strong strategy is in place and communicate this regularly within your company to ensure connectivity and continuity.

Leading a company or teams when projects are fresh is the easy part - sustaining success along the way requires engagement with both the commercial and personal DNA of your organisation.

Author of Fitpreneur and Vitality, global speaker and corporate coach - Nikki Fogden-Moore specialises in working with CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and high achieving companies to blend business and personal vitality. She runs tailored corporate programs, writes regularly for several business magazines and has been running leadership workshops and retreats for over a decade internationally. Find out more at

Do you want to bring out the best in yourself and become a transformational leader? AIM’s Mindfulness course will teach you the foundations of mindfulness in the workplace, enhancing your team dynamic and overall performance. Find out more about signing up for this course.

[1]Interact/Harris Poll,