Well, last week’s newsletter got a lot of conversation going — love that! Last week I shared the most important factor in leadership is connection — to your team (though I do believe it extends beyond that too). So this week’s newsletter is in response to the most frequent and broad question posed:
How can I be a relationship-driven boss?
First, I must compliment those even asking this question. It fills me with joy and passion that leaders are even asking this question. As you know, it is at the heart of what I do and what I care about, and of course, the topic of the books I have written and the keynotes I have delivered — — creating and enabling Relationship-Driven Leaders.
Relationship-driven leadership is critical to motivation, productivity, and retention — all the things we need — and the key to being a relational leader comes down to two things.
- First, you need to show your people you care about them as people. Sounds easy, right? In theory, yes, but in reality, leaders often forget, or shy away from, putting this into practice. I had one coaching client who shared, he felt like he was prying and didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable when I suggested he ask his employees questions about their personal lives — their families, friends, pets. I get it. Start small. Start light and see how they respond. Ask about how they are really doing, and respond with empathy and compassion. Make sure they know that you care about their wellness before you care about their productivity. Because at the end of the day, employees that are well will also perform better at work!
- Show your people you care about the things they care about. Now, don’t fake interest in hobbies or interests your employees have that you couldn’t care less about. Try to find a mutual topic of common interest to build that connection. You also should show an interest in finding out what your employees care about at work. What makes them excited to work for your organization? What projects do they want to be involved with? What is their ideal work challenge or opportunity? Try to collaborate with them to make space for them to work on projects that they care about, and in a work arrangement that aligns best with their lifestyle and values. While it is not always possible, the conversation alone will show your desire to make it happen.
Being a Relationship-Driven Leader is so critical to fostering a healthy and flourishing organization. If you care about your people, they are more likely to be loyal and productive, and your leadership will only continue to grow in influence and respect.