Leading teams and people toward a common goal can be one of the most challenging aspects of management. People come in a wide array of emotional, interpretative, and functional capabilities and simple input of instruction and compliance is not sufficient to operate a successful venture. Enduring leadership requires trust, relationship, and connectedness.
Trust is earned through honest, frank, and direct communication with others. It is fostered by the absence of hyperbole and exaggeration in our claims and promises. Trust is matured through the consideration and accommodation of the interest of others, not just our own. When a client, employee, or vendor feels seen, understood, and valued you have a positive environment in which a trusted relationship can grow.
All interactions with another human being involve a relationship. This relationship can be a neglected one, an adversarial one, or a flourishing one. The relationship that is active, mutually beneficial, and intentional is the only type that benefits a team and a business. It is in this type of relationship in which clients refer business, employees engage at a deeper level, and vendors negotiate terms more effectively. All are willing to endure tough times and celebrate good times together. These relationships create an environment that is stable and collaborative.
Personal interaction with each team member, client, and vendor involves listening and discussing topics that are aligned with their passions, interests, and concerns. In doing so, a leader learns about their strengths, weaknesses, and how they may contribute to a higher degree for the benefit of the company. Additionally, and more importantly, the leader provides sustenance to the relationship with that person, further develops the trust that has been earned, and plucks out any weeds of fear that may be encroaching into the environment.
Joe Maddon, coach of the Chicago Cubs, contributed heavily to the change in leadership style and team culture which resulted in their winning of the 2016 World Series. One of the essential leadership qualities that he exhibits is his uncanny and natural ability to connect with each of his players. Trust, relationship, and connectedness are often pointed to when others describe his impact on the organization. Maddon advises that a leader should make a personal connection first – everything else follows. Maddon’s success as a leader, coach, and person speaks to the value and benefits of this perspective and leadership style.
Leading teams and people toward a common goal can be one of the most challenging aspects of management. It can also be a way of life that develops life-long relationships that extend well beyond the workplace making life the rich, beautiful, and rewarding experience that it is meant to be; much more than just getting things done through others.