Being a great leader comes down to connecting with your employees. The ultimate test of whether your employees feel connected to you is this: If your company were to take a nosedive, would your staff stay to help turn it around?

If the answer is no, then you have some work to do. Not only do your employees need to be passionate about the work they do, they need to be passionate about you as a leader. Human connection between a CEO and his or her employees breeds trust, loyalty, and increased productivity, according to the Harvard Business Review.

To truly connect with your employees, you have to be vulnerable. For many old-school leaders, that may be hard to do.

"As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence, and authority," Emma Seppala, the associate director of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, writes in HBR. "We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work."

Seppala says once you show your staff your vulnerabilities in an authentic way, a bond results that can pay off later. She writes about Archana Patchirajan, founder of the Indian technology startup Hubbl, who had to tell her employees the company was going belly-up and they all had to find new jobs. Instead, Patchirajan's staff said they'd rather take half pay than see the company fail.

A few years later, the company was sold for $14 million. When Seppala spoke with the employees who stayed, she found out that Patchirajan had a deep relationship with her employees, one where she revealed her vulnerabilities in authentic ways. Her employees who stuck around described their CEO like this: "We all work as a family because she treats us as such," "She knows everyone in the office and has a personal relationship with each one of us," and "She does not get upset when we make mistakes but gives us the time to learn how to analyze and fix the situation."

Keep in mind, Seppala says, that vulnerability is not about being weak. It's about being courageous enough to be yourself. She says leaders can be vulnerable by replacing the professional distance you're used to with honesty about yourself and care for your employees' lives. For example, if an employee's child, spouse, or family member is sick or dying you should check in on them, go to the hospital, or attend the funeral. You should share what's going on with your life. When it comes to business, you should share your doubts about the company, your goals, and what you believe you can do together.

The connection through vulnerability will only work if it's authentic. If your employees think it's just a show, they will not trust you, but if you're able to be vulnerable, they will. When employees trust their leader, both performance and positive behavior increase, say Timothy Bartram and Gian Casimir, professors at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

And lest you think being vulnerable will open yourself up to the wolves, Seppala says that's not the case. "Here's what may happen if you embrace an authentic and vulnerable stance: Your staff will see you as a human being; they may feel closer to you; they may be prompted to share advice; and--if you are attached to hierarchy--you may find that your team begins to feel more horizontal," she writes.