“Leaders who are intentionally relational and empowering will secure lasting impact for the greater good.”
I’m sure we all know some people with that uncanny ability to relate to others. Relational people tend to be likable, disarming, and comfortable to be around. It takes a certain level of self-awareness to empathize with others, leaving them feeling like they understand and know them. Good working relationships are built on that level of connectivity.
I remember while in my thirties sitting around a table with several coworkers and our supervisor. Discussing the quality of our relationship and the work we were doing, our supervisor remarked, “Remember, I’m your boss, not your friend.” As friendly as he was, he lacked a degree of connectivity. Suffice it to say; he never achieved his vision while with the company.
Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” If you’re a leader, go the extra mile to connect with your people on the front end, your efforts will yield higher than expected returns on the back end.
Connectivity Allows for Better Productivity
“Demonstrate your love for the people you care about in the ways that they best perceive love.”
— Gary Chapman
Leaders cannot lead well without relating well. You and I cannot achieve anything of lasting value without the synergy of good relational people around us. Mutually valuable relationships always create more empowering work environments.
Many studies show that people will gravitate toward leaders with a compelling vision but be more productive with those they can trust. Connectivity provides security, mutual understanding and yields better productivity.
Chris Bailey, in his book The Productivity Project, aptly states, “Relationships give us purpose and meaning. …Without people, productivity is meaningless.” Bailey continues, “People are why we do what we do, and why we push ourselves to accomplish more. Surrounding ourselves with people has been shown to make us happier and more engaged and makes us want to be more productive, too. People are the reason for productivity.” (1)
Positive Relationships Create Positive Outcomes
“The leader is the person who brings a little magic to the moment.”
— Denise Morrison
Elaine Houston, writing on the importance of positive relationships in the workplace, observes, “When relationships in the workplace are characterized by cooperation, trust, and fairness, the reward center of the brain is activated, which encourages future interactions that promote employee trust, respect, and confidence, with employees believing the best in each other and inspiring each other in their performance (Geue, 2017).
Positive social interactions at work directly affect the body’s physiological processes. According to Heaphy and Dutton (2008), positive social interactions serve to bolster physiological resourcefulness by fortifying the cardiovascular, immune, and neuroendocrine systems through immediate and enduring decreases in cardiovascular reactivity, strengthened immune responses, and healthier hormonal patterns.
Put simply, when employees experience positive relationships, the body’s ability to build, maintain, and repair itself is improved both in and out of the workplace.” (2)
Early on, I decided on being an intentionally relational leader with all people all the time. It’s always challenging, but the benefits always outweigh the efforts. The following are six simple points that have been enabling me to connect with others for many years:
Take time to get to know your people; who are they? What are their dreams?
Remember birthdays, anniversaries, family members (write them down).
Genuinely care about them, the challenges they face, at home and work.
Train your people well, trust them to make important decisions.
Genuinely appreciate them, affirm their value to you and the organization.
Remind yourself, without your team; you cannot accomplish your dream.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
— Angela Ahrendts
(1) The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy.
(2) “The Importance of Positive Relationships in the Workplace” by Elaine Houston B.Sc. https://bit.ly/3pUofD9