We connect with some people and not with others. Great leaders master how to connect with just about everyone and that’s one reason why people want to follow them.
There are many facets to connection. Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram have written an excellent book titled 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time that provides insight into an important aspect of connection.
The idea is simple. There are five gears that people operate in and when you fail to recognize the gear others are in and shift into that gear, you will fail to connect. Consider the following examples:
- You are focused and deep into working on a project when someone walks into your office and begins chit chatting. They fail to see that they’ve interrupted you and that you would like to get back to work. Result = Disconnect.
- You are in social mode at a party and someone is monopolizing your time by trying to get deep into a topic that they just won’t let go of. Result = Disconnect.
- You are at home watching a great football game that you’ve been looking forward to when you get a call on your cellphone from a friend. You try to drop some hints that it would be better to talk later but he doesn’t pick up on them and keeps talking. Result = Disconnection.
Although the foregoing are examples of people failing to connect with you, there may be times that you are failing to connect with others because you are communicating in the wrong gear.
Kubicek and Cockram and identified five “gears” that people go into. The gears are focus mode, task mode, social mode, connect mode, recharge mode, responsive mode (backing up or apologizing when necessary).
In addition to identifying the five gears and describing each in detail, the book has other insights you’ll find valuable. One piece of advice related to recharge mode is to begin slowly in the morning. Although very unlike me, when I tried starting slowly in the morning, I found that I felt better, had more energy and was more productive. Now I’m trying to make it a habit.
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