Here’s why you don’t need to have good relationships with each of your team members
Some leaders use an autocratic approach as their first option, regardless of the situation. This really is an old-fashioned view…
- You’re good with them working half-heartedly.
- You’re not concerned about decreasing productivity.
- You’re not bothered about cultivating them to go the extra mile.
- And you’re not fussed if they look for another job and leave you.
Hmmm, somehow I don’t think that’s so…
That being the case, I’m now going to speak with you as a leader who intends to inspire more discretionary effort from each team member. You want them to create fresh successes for your team and for the organisation, right?
You therefore need to care about how engaged they are—because it’s that engagement that:
- Gives birth to an impressive amount of discretionary effort.
- Has team members revealing how much initiative and creativity they can apply to the team’s targeted outcomes.
What Reduces A Team Member’s Engagement, And Therefore Their Ouput?
Time and time again in 360 feedback interviews with team members, even when they’re quite senior leaders, I’m told that their effort decreases when they don’t feel valued, respected and fairly treated.
When a team member feels unfairly treated, their uptime reduces and their downtime increases!
And they tell me that they feel unfairly treated when they don’t feel supported by their leader—such as when they perceive their leader:
- Didn’t follow through on a commitment to them.
- Continues to cancel one-on-one meetings because of other urgent issues.
- Wasn’t candid about something.
- Didn’t go to bat for them, say with their promotion or salary increase.
- Isn’t giving them the recognition that they want, need or think they deserve.
Please don’t shoot the messenger here. I’m simply telling you what they tell me.
First-Rate Leaders Develop First-Rate Relationships
If you’re not up for developing first-rate relationships, you’ll need to give up on the notion of being a first-rate leader I’m afraid.
Every single one of your team members wants an authentic boss who values, respects and connects with them. (Some of your more independent team members might not behave as if that’s the case. But believe me, that’s what they want.)
This need human beings have for a personal connection was highlighted recently when I was watching the television program, “So You Think You Can Dance”…
Those dancers who were perceived to be outstanding dancers in the competition were those who had their heart in the game.
It wasn’t as much about their technical proficiency as a dancer, nor how well they mastered the choreography that was handed to them. Provided those two fundamentals were reasonable, the judges judged each dancer on how well they connected with their dance partner.
It’s the dancers who have this connection who win the competitions! And they’re the leaders who win too.
First-rate leaders make it a priority to have good relationships with their team members. They:
- Treat investing time with them, to endorse or support them, as a mission-critical item—even when they have lots of other mission-critical things on their plate.
- Candidly and courageously put their thoughts and feelings on the table—even about difficult-to-discuss matters.
- Care enough to curiously delve into their team members’ thoughts and feelings—even when they think they have the “right” answer.
- Develop their team members so the team member can be at their best—now and around the corner.
This Stuff Is Good For Productivity And For Business
I don’t want you to see this as tree-hugging, soft stuff that leaders whose primary focus is on goals and results don’t have time for.
Lifting the connection that you and your team members experience with each other builds loyalty, productivity and therefore profits—and it feels good too.
Your Leadership Call to Action
I suggest that you think about each of your team members:
- How would you describe the relationship that you have with each of them?
- Does it motivate them to go the extra mile?
- Or do they have unmet expectations that you need to talk through with them?
- What would they say about how well they feel endorsed or supported by you?
As always, keep me posted on your thinking and give me a yell to discuss how a coaching relationship with me could help you, or a leader in your team, move even closer to being a model leader.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.