Important Leader Relationship Skillss
By Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun
What are the most important skills leaders need in today’s workplace? While I don’t have space to share all the skills needed, here are seven relationship building skills important to your leadership success.
Build Communication Relationships: We speak regularly with family members in order to bond everyone into one cohesive group. In business, this skill is universally needed and understandably of critical importance. When those we lead don’t understand our message, how can they carry out its demands? Study communication strategies, including customizing the words to your audience, listening skills, and body language. The last two are what I call the “forgotten” components of communication. Master all three and you build solid communication tactics.
Relationships to Build Trust: Think of your friends. Haven’t you established a trusting bond? When you trust, friendship builds. When distrust is present, the relationship is strained and potentially antagonistic. If trust and relationship building are not in your leadership arsenal, you will soon lose the leadership battle. But understand, you must be trustworthy to be thought of as trustful.
Empowering Relationships: Let people in on the decision process whenever possible. Involvement, creates commitment. Empowering employees is one of the best ways to grow and test their leadership skills. It’s also a way to free you of some activities others can do. It’s a win-win strategy creating a great workplace environment. It’s also a great strategy to attack problems. In the years I managed environmental compliance for a former employer, I would occasionally go to plant operators for their input. I always got a quick solution and an energized employee as we implemented their suggestion. You don’t always have the answers. So, empower and win. Empower and you inspire employee commitment.
Empathetic Relationships: We all seek a bit of empathy for our life situations. Employees want understanding of their circumstances so leaders can implement actions that address their concerns. Leaders can use empathy as a teaching moment. Employees must be trained and provided with the needed resources to do their job. This is empathy in action. When leaders know the “WHY” an employee took an action, it’s easier to be empathetic. Screaming, arguing, or demeaning actions, eliminate the potential for empathy. This doesn’t mean you overlook stupid! But seek understanding first to create congruent thinking.
Relationships Build Organizational Culture: While the training I offer organizations has an overall focus on leadership, I've started incorporating a culture component. I believe it is the most important element of organizational structure. The vision and values leaders create must be supported and communicated to everyone. These should not be a deep, dark secret. Hire smart employees that support your culture. Be consistent in “selling” and “living” your vision and values. Inconsistency destroys your culture. Consistency builds and sustains it—a wise culture building strategy.
Strong Relationships Open the Door for Candor: As one that trains leaders, I’m a strong proponent of sharing truth in a candid manner. Employees grow with the truth, and relationships demand you share it. Unfortunately, today we have too much chaos, dishonesty, and a resistance to candor in the workplace. Strong leaders understand that truth sets us free to grow and prosper—two traits organizations need. Leaders require a clear pathway to help employees maximize their contributions. Candor is the tool that fine-tunes that process.
Strong Relationships Create Followship: You are not leading if you have no followers. That’s the harsh reality every leader must keep top of mind. If your leadership practices turn off employees, their resistance prevents progress and your ability to take charge. Forget grabbing power. Forcing followship is a temporary tactic. Long term, it will destroy building followers and potentially your ability to lead. Appreciate followers. Treat them professionally. Seek their contributions. Stay tuned to their thinking and expectations. Each of these are important ingredients for creating followers that will support your vision and values.
Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun, offers in-person and virtual leadership training and consulting services to his corporate, government, and education clients. Preview his website, www.SearchingForSuccess.com and Contact him at 225-572-2804