Relationships matter. A lot. A mentor once said “You don’t have to like everyone, but you have to know how to work with everyone. Your relationships will make or break what you achieve in your career”.
If leadership is engaging, influencing and inspiring others: this can only happen through connected relationships. If no one is following you, you’re simply going for a walk on your own.
The biggest predicator to your success is your ability to connect with others
I’m working with Tammy. She complained about her team’s shortcomings and the culture being siloed. When she saw that she’d never really connected with her team, her ‘aha’ moment was in realising it wasn’t her team that needed to change: she needed to change. She needed to learn how to communicate, to fully engage in conversations, and build trust to turn things around.
The only thing you control in your relationships is you
The better your relationships are – up, down and across the organisational levels you work in – the more productive and resourceful you’ll be, as well as positioned for future opportunity.
We all want great relationships. No one is perfect and our relationships aren’t either. We’re complex. And sometimes we get in the way in relationships without even knowing it. Like when our ego surfaces: where we want to be right, blame and judge others or justify what we’ve done. Or where we create meanings for what happened as though our meanings are the truth. So, for example, when you put yourself forward for a new internal role and you’re not chosen. Self-doubt sets in and you tell yourself; “I haven’t got what it takes” or “They don’t rate me; I’ve got no chance of moving. I’ll have to leave the company”. This thinking only limits what’s possible. Having self-awareness to turn your ego off and choosing perspectives that serve you is the key.
Are you as self-aware as you think?
Ask yourself these two questions:
How do others experience you? What would they say?
How do you want them to experience you?
Do you have a gap? The size of your gap is your opportunity for self-awareness and social-awareness growth.
Here are 4 other foundation keys for effective relationships:
Build your trust bank with people
Good leaders are able to earn the trust of others, even when their interactions are minimal and remote. What they say, how they say it and how they follow-through on the commitments they make, are the small but vital indicators that people accumulate as they form their perceptions of others.
Building trust also means having courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs to bring the real you – all of you – into your reactions with others. If you don’t trust you, why should others trust you?
Build your communication toolkit
This means knowing how to collaborate, engage and influence others. It’s about employing different strategies for different people in different situations. It’s about communicating purposefully and recognising where others are at and influencing from that place, so others can follow you forward.
When you foster teamwork, everyone become more efficient and productive. Teamwork allows goals (not achievable individually) to be attainable where people share expertise, and learn and grow from each other.
Show up how you want – show respect
Show respect for others by appreciating we are all different and we see the world differently. Be interested in the perspectives of others. Listen to them. Validate them. And be willing to examine viewpoints that are different from your own. The richer your tapestry of thinking is, the more behaviourally flexible you will become.
Bringing it all together
Building effective relationships requires high self-awareness, time, effort and a 360 approach. How you respond and what you take responsibility for will make or break any relationship you have.