Dr. Fred Johnson
Build Relational Skills to Improve Your Leadership
Developing relationships at work may seem like a skill leaders can put on the back burner, but developing relational skills can impact your employees’ productivity and your organization’s culture (and possibly even your boss’s opinion of you).
Relational skills are coming to the forefront of modern workplaces. Patience, trustworthiness, empathy, and reliability are all key relational components to personally develop. These abilities will impact your relationships both inside and outside of your organization.
“Relational skills are the most important abilities in leadership.” – John C. Maxwell, Developing the Leaders Around You
Think about it – if a leader cannot relate to an employee except to pass on tasks or to give feedback on a project, the employee will feel that the leader does not care about anything except productivity and work. An employee will not enjoy their job and be less productive if they do not feel they have the support and understanding of their leader.
Hopefully, as a leader you try to develop your employees by being a mentor and helping them develop themselves and their position within your organization. You need to develop relationships with your employees in order to know and understand their goals and to help them grow. Having a good relationship with your employees makes you a better leader.
Strong leadership depends on understanding the people you work with and being able to fully communicate and provide them with feedback. This is best accomplished when you have a relationship with your team and you know what motivates each person.
Each relationship is different, but if you look at any of your strong relationships (at work or in your private life), they are probably made up of trust, mutual respect, diversity, and open communication (among other factors).
Developing a good relationship means you know and understand each other and have similar goals for your relationship. This means you will be required to work towards maintaining your relationship and reaching your goals.
Interaction is part of each and every job an individual can have. Through your interactions and the relationships you develop, you will be able to influence people – influential relationships are built on trust and can be highly beneficial to leaders. The relationships you develop through your interactions can help your work atmosphere and culture, customer relations, and the future of your career.
Emotional intelligence allows you to understand your own emotions and the emotions of those around you. Surprisingly (or maybe not), this allows you to fully comprehend what your emotions and the emotions of others are trying to tell you. Being able to use this information will make your relationships and communication stronger.
Not every coworker is going to be your favorite person. Sometimes you will not agree with their opinions, how they work, or why they are in their position. Relational skills allow you to work together as needed. The ability to work with a difficult person shows everyone that you are committed to your organization and are willing to do whatever it takes to create the best product. While these “difficult people” should not take all of your time, developing a basis for the relationship and managing that relationship will help both of you be more productive when collaborating. Coworkers may also notice your improved relationship modeling skills and attempt to follow your example.
There are a variety of approaches to leadership, and in most cases you need to assess the situation to know which path to take. Relational skills can be beneficial in any leadership task – from communicating with employees to resolving conflict to group decision-making.
From leading your team to being as productive as possible when working with those you may not like, you can better manage your role if you have developed your relational skills. Organizations are looking for leaders who are able to connect with their employees and establish relationships that are beneficial to productivity and organizational culture. To stay in your leadership position, or to reach a higher one, developing these skills may be just what you need to stay ahead of everyone else.
InitiativeOne teaches leaders to better understand their employees and organizations. Our courses can improve culture, help manage conflict, and transform your organizational leadership. Visit the InitiativeOne website and social media to find programs that could benefit your organization and its leaders. InitiativeOne can benefit every organization – and everyone within your organization.