One of my favorite bosses would always say,
“It’s all about leadership.”
One of my favorite managers would always say, “It’s all about relationships”. They were both right.
Good leadership flows out of good relationships.
One of my favorite leadership proverbs (I guess this one of my favorite blogs) is that people follow only leaders they trust, they trust only leaders they know. As leaders we are taught to get to know the people with whom we work. We are rarely taught that it is also important to allow people to get to know us.
I once led a group that had three remote locations, co-located with the clients they were serving. In the first six months of my assignment, I failed to visit any of those locations and I was not a very effective leader. The manager and I literally needed couples counseling to get along.
To make a long story short, I figured out that I needed to visit those remote locations; not just to see what was going on, not just to get to know the people (though both were critically important) but also to allow people to get to know me.
I would occupy one of the empty cubicles (rather than a visiting manager’s office) for the entire day and would treat the team to lunch. After several such visits, I knew them better and they knew me better (I was not so stuck up after all; anyone that would eat a syrup-laden pancake with his fingers couldn’t be that fussy)
I became much more effective at influencing people to good outcomes, not because I had improved a skill set but because I had become known.
Are you known by the people you lead? If not, what are the hurdles to making that happen?