Effective Leadership: Building Relationships
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Effective Leadership: Building Relationships

The quality of a team depends literally on the quality of its leader.

Great things have been accomplished by great teams led by great leaders. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you do, or what kind of team you have, the principles for effective leadership will always be the same. They apply whether it is a school, an office, sports, communities or even countries.

Of all the principles there are, to be a successful leader, no other may be more important than to really get to know and care for your team.

A leader cannot lead what he doesn’t know.

In order to know somebody there has to be an intentional interaction between you and that person. It cannot happen by chance, and is way more than just telling somebody “Do this” or “Do that”, that’s what a “boss” do, but you want to be more than that, you want to be an effective leader. You want to lead them in such a way that makes them want to follow, you don’t want them to follow you just because they have to.

Believe it or not, the group of people we lead expect us to be aware not only of their performance but also of themselves.

So, this is more about engaging them than engaging the work they do.

There is a great quote from Zig Ziglar that goes like this:

You don't build a business --you build people - and then people build the business.

And how do we do that? How do we “build” them?? Well, it’s more about building the relationship, creating an environment where people can trust you. This, of course, does not happen in a day or a week, it takes time and consistency. Let’s review a few simple things we can start learning about our people to get to know them better:

1. Know their goals and dreams

Maybe the most revealing piece of information is to know what people want from this life. What are their short and long term goals? What do they want to achieve from their work and relationships? What drives their life? If we get to know this, the rest is going to point in the same direction.

2. Know their strengths

If you’ve been working with them for a while you should already know this, but let’s try to go a step further. What are they good at that I’m not aware of? Are they good at writing, speaking, designing, analyzing, having creative ideas, etc.? Have I given them the opportunity to show their strengths?

3. Know their frustrations and fears

Yes, these are also important because you can provide support, guidance and encouragement. Where do your people need help with? What are they afraid of? And most important how can YOU help them? You thought your only role was to “get the job done”, but remember it’s your people who help you achieve that.

4. Know their personal interests

Everybody has likes and dislikes; food, music, movies, places, ways of entertainment, hobbies, sport teams, etc. Just keep your hears open, and ask the right questions, these things are easy to spot.

To summarize, everything that is important for your team must be important for you. I’m not saying that you have to share the same things in common; I’m saying you should be aware of things that relevant to them and carry yourself accordingly. It’s important to you BECAUSE it’s important to them.

WARNING

Doing all of this would be impossible without the single most important thing: to genuinely care. Yes, as simple as that. People look up to leaders who are genuine. You cannot pretend to care, people can tell that.

Now this is the part where I should give you tons of examples of leaders who have modeled the idea we’ve discussed so far. But I would rather you to think about your own experience:

Think about a past or current leader, boss, or mentor. Can you tell if he/she is genuine with you? Can you tell if his/her only interest is to “get the job done”? Can you tell if he/she cares about you as a person? Of course you can. And when we find somebody who cares about us we are willing to follow to the end.

Let me conclude with this amazing quote that I found the other day:

"The team you lead doesn't care how much you know, until they know how much you care"

- Theodore Roosevelt

There are many more leadership principles but I believe this is the foundation of them all. I encourage you to become a better leader every day. Remember that great leaders produce great leaders.

Thank you for reading. Stay blessed


Street Talk

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