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Leadership is Always About Relationships – 3 Practical Tips

build relationships to improve leadership

Leadership is about Relationships

I once heard a joke about a boss arriving at work one morning in a brand-new Lamborghini. “Wow,” one of his employees said. “That’s an absolutely great car.” The boss replies, “Well… if you work hard enough, put all your hours in like you did this year, and strive for excellence, I’ll get another one just like it next year.”

While the above story might be funny, unfortunately, underlying the humor is something that is fairly common – many leaders still don’t fully understand or appreciate who is paying their bills. They don’t fully get who helps them shine. Or they simply just don’t care.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to inspire those you lead by connecting and building strong relationships based on things like gratitude, trust and care.

Leadership happens one connection and one relationship at a time. The more time you invest in connecting and building relationships with those you lead, the more time they will invest in helping you get to wherever you, your team and organization are trying to get to. If you want to improve your leadership, improve your relationships.

Here are three things you can start doing now to begin to build better relationships.

1. Serve. Service is the fastest way you can unlock your leadership and build great relationships – hands down. When you serve your people not only will you connect deeply with them, but they will start connecting deeply with you as well.

Service isn’t simply doing your job, it’s going above and beyond in a personal way with each person you lead. It’s putting them and thinking about them first. Do you have a unique gift you can give that shows you understand them? Is there an opportunity after a day of snow to scrape and brush off their car? Can you surprise them with a sandwich if you see they are going to be working late?

There are many creative ways to connect by serving those you lead, you just have to regularly look for opportunities.

2. Spend time. I have know many leaders over the years whose only open door policy was to shut the door if someone saw it open.

Leadership is about being visible. You can’t build relationships if you are regularly behind your desk with your door shut. Schedule time to walk the office connecting in personal ways with those you lead.

3. Know those you lead. You won’t have a chance of building relationships if you don’t spend time getting to know those that you lead. Every interaction with an employee is an opportunity to find out more about them, their families, hobbies, likes and dislikes etc.

Leadership is about relationships. The stronger your relationships with those you lead, the better chance you will have in positively influencing and inspiring those you lead – which is foundational to everything you do as a leader.

Michael goes a lot deeper on these topic in his new book – Do You Care to Lead? A 5-Part Formula for Creating Loyal and Results Focused Teams and Organizations. You can purchase by CLICKING HERE.

Or, if you would like Michael to come speak to your organization on these topics, personally reach out to him at 888-310-3338 or