Leaders build and maintain healthy relationships
“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” - W. Clement Stone
Surround yourself with people who will inspire and equip you to do more than you can accomplish alone. The buzzword in some cultures is “team.” Team implies a connection as a group – like “choir” or “orchestra.” The group is not just a number of people, it’s a number of people with something in common. There are formal teams and informal teams – each has a place in your life. Be aware of the formal and informal power structure in organizations so you are not blindsided.
Build and maintain healthy relationships internally and externally. Both kinds of relationships will impact your leadership. Share your goals. Share your challenges. Share your victories. Share your time.
Invest in relationships, for they are the basis for effective leadership. Healthy relationships feed us, empower us, create synergy, and are the basis of transformational leadership. Relationships build high performance teams. (See my book Building High Performance Teams.)
Thoughts about leadership and relationships:
- Listen: Ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. Gather appropriate data and then make your best decision based on the data.
- Focus: Be clear on your vision and make the final decision based on your vision, and not based on the relationship. Establish a culture of collaborative thinking and consensus building. You influence others based on your personal influence. At times, your decision will be contrary to other opinions. This is damaging to the relationship. You are the leader who makes the right decision. That will earn you respect in relationships.
- Observe: Do not think that silence is acceptance. Only 7% of a message is communicated through words. Look for other messages in body language, tone, facial expressions, and eye movements. Ask for clarification for what you observe in the behavior of others. Affirm individual opinions. Consider the facts. Be true to your vision. Do not let apprehension become opposition.
- Engage: Involve others in decision-making as appropriate. Some decisions are yours alone. Many decisions that leaders make could be shared. When you invite others to brainstorm options and prioritize solutions, then there is a broad base of support for the decision. You are still in charge. Your team is engaged.
- Care: Show others that you care about them personally, as well as professionally. Do not confuse caring about the person with making a decision that is best for your vision. You might agree. You might not agree. The relationship remains strong.
Earn the right to influence others because you have invested in relationship.
The Transformational Leadership Strategist
(c) 2012 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.