We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Now, aside from the fact that what you know is definitely important, there is some truth to the idea that relationships influence your options, in business and in life.

Healthy relationships increase our options, our leadership lid and our capacity for success. Unhealthy relationships are a cage, limiting our ability to grow, to inspire and to live in our own gifts and vision for life.

How we relate in interpersonal situations, both in groups and one-on-one, is a strong indicator of our relational leadership capacity. So, what’s a good way for us to rate ourselves and see where we may have some room for improvement? The process of answering these five questions will help accurately ascertain and improve our relational leadership.

 

1 – How do I operate inside someone else’s vision?

How we view ourselves when we’re working inside someone else’s system will play a big role in how we communicate and operate within it. Do we feel free or stuck? Valued or used? Do we fully understand the vision and our role in it? Is that role vital and life-giving or do we struggle to find our motivation each day? Perhaps most importantly, are these impressions being created by the situation, or are we bringing them into the situation because of our expectations?

 

2 – Where do I fit when the leader has a lower leadership lid?

What do we do and how do we think as a member of a team in which the leader does not possess the leadership capacity and ability we do? This is frustrating, and if we’re not intentional in our thoughts and our actions, it creates problems for the whole team … problems the leader may not be sufficiently able to address.

 

3 – Who am I when I meet someone for the first time?

First impressions matter, so the temptation to be inauthentic is very real. However, healthy relationships require authenticity, and there’s no better place to begin than at the very start. While putting our best foot forward is expected, we must be careful to do this with authenticity. Sacrificing realness for short-term acceptance often creates relational stress down the road.

 

4 – Who am I in an unfamiliar place or position?

“New” often feels uncomfortable, and that often tempts us to put up a guard or façade. However, we may still be an authentic, open version of ourselves in an unfamiliar situation. Fear or apprehension may still be there, yet when our confidence and enthusiasm comes from within, it’s not easily influenced by circumstances. This is the sort of magnetic leadership that draws people to us and makes them more confident and enthusiastic because of our example.

 

5 – Who am I when I don’t connect?

Whether the challenge is understanding a situation, a task or what a person is trying to communicate, sometimes we just don’t get it. What then? Do we lean in and seek understanding, or do we dismiss that person or situation as “too hard” or “just not my thing”? While we may not be responsible for the disconnect in understanding, we may still be the one to choose to create a way to bridge that gap. That kind of leadership is valuable no matter who you are or where you are in an organization. Bridge builders, translators and enthusiastic “let’s-do-it” people are vital to the success of every team

 

So, how did you do? Did you discover some areas of your relational leadership that would benefit from more focus and development? We’re going to unpack these ideas in future blogs. In the meantime, share your story in the comments below or contact me here to talk about it.

 

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