Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say. —Andy Stanley
For this week’s final article, I wanted to scratch the surface on what it means to be a relationship-focused leader.
After coaching quite a bit of people within this last year, the feedback I’ve received from “followers” regarding good and bad leadership skills have really opened my eyes and heart and the need to be a better leader.
Whether you’re a leader or a follower, use this checklist to do an evaluation on yourself or those you work/partner with.
Here are five tips I’ve learned on how to be a better relationship-focused leader:
As a leader, being aware is very important. From one-on-one conversations to meetings and parties, being aware is key. When you’re holding a meeting or hosting a party, are you aware of who is or isn’t in attendance? Do you notice when someone has fallen off the radar? Are you aware when someone from your team doesn’t feel important by the way s/he is acting? Do you reach out to make sure s/he is okay? Do you include everyone when going out to lunch/dinner or better yet, do you insist they join you even after they say, “No, it’s okay. Really.”?
When you’re not aware, you exclude others even when it’s not your intention. Don’t just assume that everyone knows they’re invited to the meeting/party. An invitation from you in any format is a personal way to show that you are inclusive, that you care, and that you desire to be around them.
STAY IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION AND LISTEN.
Are you listening when others speak or do you like to listen to yourself talk instead? Listening is genuinely not thinking of anything or anyone else when someone speaks. Your entire focus is on that person. Additionally, you’ll learn what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on when it comes to your leadership skills.
If you have a hard time staying focused during a conversation, make constant eye contact and ask a lot of questions. Asking questions during a conversation helps you to stay focused, keeps your attention on the other person, and is a sign that you’re a great listener!
NOT EVERY INTERACTION SHOULD BE ABOUT BUSINESS.
Don’t call or text your colleagues or teammates to see how they’re doing and then tack on a business-related topic. Not cool. It’s okay to reach out to your teammates to see how they’re doing and leave it at that. If you’re good at relationships, no one should be able to smell your business-related intentions.
Guys, I know you struggle with this as women are more natural relationship builders. Here’s a tip: set up a schedule. You should be contacting your team every once in awhile to see how they’re doing with no strings attached. Other times in between can be about business. Remember, people over profit!
Being approachable means you’re a people person. Others shouldn’t be scared to share with you how they feel. A relationship-focused leader should be approachable. How can you be approachable you ask? Do you interact with everyone no matter their title/rank, income, and the way they look/dress? Are you being your true, authentic self? Are you showing others that it’s okay to mess up and not be perfect?
Trust me when I say people around you can see if you’re prideful or narcissistic. A prideful or narcissist attitude is NOT attractive and does NOT give others permission to be themselves! Being approachable empowers and shows others that it’s okay to be a little messy as a leader and as a person.
When you honor someone, you show them respect for who they are as a person not just as a leader. Do you honor others by giving them praise? Do you honor others by giving them credit for their work? Or standing up when they take the stage to speak or present? How about clapping when they win an award? Are you honoring those around you by noticing the little things they do for others around them? How about when they hit their goals? When you honor others, you’re showing that people are important to you.
On the same note, if you find yourself responding with jealousy, ask yourself if your emotions are stemming from competitiveness or if your real desire is for that person to fail. If it’s the latter half, I highly recommend you check your heart because this emotion goes far beyond leadership.
People follow leaders who lead from their hearts with love and understanding. If your business partners, followers or customers question whether or not you truly care, pay attention. A relationship-focused leader with real character puts others first.
As Dale Partridge says, “People over profit!”
Now that you’ve read these tips, are you a business-focused leader or a relationship-focused leader?
Which tip do you need to focus on more?