Relationship building and effective leadership go hand-in-hand in today’s corporate world. The success of an enterprise is often dependent on collaborating with other businesses in the same field, or making use of freelance contractors. It is in every organization’s best interest that leaders develop solid bonds between their people, departments, customers and suppliers. Failing to do so very often leads to companies failing to grow, lagging behind their competition, or eventually closing their doors for good.
A study by the Center for Creative Leadership, sampling more than 400,000 people from 7,500 companies, including many Fortune 500 firms, found that nearly 70% of the bosses deemed relationship skills as critical to a leader’s success. Here at WOW Factors, we fully agree. In order to build relationships successfully, it is crucial to understand the Transnational Analysis that takes place when we interact with others.
Experts also say that leaders who fail to build and maintain relationships — both within their corporations and with their external customers and partners — often face obstacles to business growth. The leader’s world is about creating a direction and context for action, and leaders need to develop special relationships that include high levels of trust and commitment.
In the process, leaders face unique relationship challenges. One such challenge, is staying true to themselves. Sometimes leaders promoted to a higher executive position struggle to grasp their expanded, strategic role. They often find their new roles overlapping with the old and it might take some practice to become effective and productive in their new roles, as they, too, learn new skills and formulate new strategies.
Many new leaders admit it’s challenging to stay true to themselves, especially with things coming at them so fast. Those who are able to stay true to themselves and manage their initial anxiety, listen more and seek feedback. That allows them to increase trust and develop powerful relationships.
Managing multiple relationships is yet another challenge leaders face. More and more people want their attention, the higher the leader climbs up on the corporate ladder. Leaders find themselves having to make difficult choices to prioritize the list to keep their most important working relationships manageable and growing.
Extra time is required to invest in and build mutual trust with the new connections. That doesn’t mean valuable relationships from the past get cast aside. Leaders should trust others enough to hand some of their contacts over to be maintained by their team. An effective leader needs to be a juggler of relationships, deciding which to invest in, how much to invest, and when to invest.
A conscious leader realizes how crucial it is to build trust among co-workers and creates a culture where powerful business relationships can flourish. By aligning the culture around a mission supported by values and goals, that promote high trust and collaboration, workers are able to take risks, learn from mistakes and adapt quickly, resulting in a successful, ever-growing enterprise.
When structure and culture are not aligned, an organization struggles and fails to fully execute the leader’s strategy, or realize the company vision. Often this leads to dysfunction and a toxic environment.
The leaders are ultimately responsible for the health of their organizations and the health of its critical business relationships. For many companies, these critical relationships become the ultimate strategic advantage.