Training Edge offers leadership training for executivesWelcome to a deeper look into the Remarkable Leadership Series. This series is designed to help leaders reach their potential, strengthen their leadership talents, achieve goals, and inspire others.

The first topic is about Building Relationships.

Remarkable leaders know how to build and leverage relationships in an impactful way. They need to establish strong working relationships with a variety of people, so that they can get their job done with support and advocacy. You need to develop and deliver upon the interpersonal skills that help advance your ideas, create effective solutions, and get the job done.

Here are ten simple things that you can do to build better relationships as a leader.

  1. Be inspirational. Employees want to follow people with those who inspire. Find your passion and share it with others. Help others to see and understand the bigger picture on what you find to be motivational. Help them tune into the “What’s In It for Me?” message.
    Learn to be a generous listener. There is very little listening in our society anymore. It has become talking not listening. Having a better story or “one-upping” the other person so that you can feel bigger and better. My suggestion is that you will indeed fill bigger and better by giving the gift of your attention, concern, and honoring the other person with allowing them to share what is important to them… then truly listening.
  2. Be aware of your non-verbal messages. These non-verbals (like eye contact, tone of voice, hand gestures) can impact and influence your relationships with others. Many are not even aware of the significance that these non-speaking messages have. Your words may be saying one thing and yet, your body is telling a different story. Learn to read other people’s body language and non-verbal clues, as they will not lie. These clues can share with you whether or not they are connected to you, doubt you, or agree with you. When in doubt… check it out. If you are not sure whether someone is, for example in agreement with you, go ahead and ask them.  It is better to know then guess.
  3. Become a mentor. Relationships are an important part of any career, but all too often, it is about taking and receiving from others to advance oneself. Instead…. Make the choice to take someone under your wing and teach them what you have learned as a leader. You will find that it reinforces the positive qualities of your effective leadership, but it will also bring satisfaction to you, knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s career.
  4. Come from a place of curiosity (not judgment) Let’s face it… no one likes to feel or be judged.  When you criticize or are skeptical, you will not build effective relationships. Seek to understand, so that you can strengthen relationships from the ability to see things from another’s perspective. Be neutral and simply ask them to share their viewpoint. When you come from a place of sincerity and authenticity, you will build strong relationships.
  5. Provide honest feedback to build relationships and improve your ability to lead. Ask for feedback from a committee or other group you help lead. Give members an opportunity to express their thoughts. Create the environment where you and others can reflect on what was spoken and simply say… “Thank you for sharing that with me.”
  6. Learn from others. Make it a habit to look at other leaders and learn from them. Study great leaders. Learn from their mistakes. Repeat the elements that were successful. Identify a role model and model their behavior. Use your (imaginary) role model to help you make decisions and guide you to effective problem solving. Take time to build relationships through listening to their story and by asking poignant questions that demonstrates your admiration and interest in learning from them.
  7. Make it right. While we like to think that leaders get along with everyone… This is not true.  What effective leaders do is identify those leaders who are different and leverage their differences by turning them into strengths. Leaders also know how and when to apologize when a mistake was made and how to repair damaged relationships. Look at your not-so-great relationships and identify what needs to be done to right them.
  8. Provide positive reinforcement. Let others know when they are doing well. Catch them in the right and doing the behavior that you want to see repeated. We remember those times when someone in our life took the time to let us know we did a great job. Too often we don’t deliver positive praise for fear of discomfort, or not wanting to embarrass the other person, or even feeling like you should not have to… “they were just doing their job.” When you are the deliverer of good news, your relationship strengthens.

Be yourself. To build good relationships with others, you need to lead from a place of authenticity. Achievers in history share one thing in common – they knew themselves well and they leveraged their strengths. Bring your full self to work and allow people to see and be led by a leader who is confident, natural, and genuine.