How Great Leaders Build Strong Relationships

You might think leadership would be easy if it wasn’t for people. Try sending everyone home! Now what?

You’re an individual contributor – not a leader – when you work in isolation.

Relationship and performance:

Feeling connected makes difficult work easier and boring work more enjoyable.

  • Who brings their best to work?
  • Who goes the extra mile?
  • Who digs in when the hill is steep?

We bring our best when we care about the people we serve.

Relationship and meaning:

Relationship infuses meaning into work. Think of the difference between kissing your mom, your spouse, or one of your kids.

Strong relationships make work matter.

Relationship and results:

Strong relationships produce remarkable results as long as people work to achieve shared goals.

The hard things in management are easier when people feel respected and appreciated.

When you care, you give your best. Those who care commit to bring advantage to those they care about.

Relational leadership:

#1. Commit to build relationships.

The person with the higher position is responsible to initiate relationship. Don’t wait for people to build relationships with you.

#2. Connect on a human level.

The person with authority or power sets the tone of the relationship.

Do you sit behind your desk when people enter your office? You might eliminate physical barriers if you hope to connect emotionally.

#3. Practice perspective taking.

Relationships are annoyances to overworked leaders.

When you’re in a hurry, you don’t have time to respect someone’s point of view. Questions for perspective taking:

  1. How well do you know each team member?
  2. How well do your team members think you know them?
  3. How are you seeking to understand other people’s situations?
  4. How many options have you explored together?
  5. How are you evaluating the depth of understanding you are communicating to others?

How important are relationships to successful leadership? (On a scale from 1:10)

How might leaders build strong relationships with team members?

Bonus Material:

Leadership as Relationship: Why “We” matters more than “I” (CQ Network)

4 Relationship Skills You Need in the Office (CCL)