When you’re in a relationship, if you are aware of a problem, it’s your responsibility to make a concerted effort to make a positive change. - John Maxwell
I was reading Be a People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships. by John Maxwell over the weekend. The "big idea" of Be a People Person centers around getting the most out of those around you in work, family, and social life, by improving your interpersonal relationships.
At the end of the day, the effort of a single person (you) doesn't scale well. To achieve remarkable results, you must rely on those around you. Unfortunately, people don't work effectively together by default. As a result, a large chunk of your effort as a leader should be spent on relationships in order to achieve the results you're looking for.
According to Maxwell, there are five qualities leaders possess who excel at building relationships with those around them:
- Encourage others - In short, you don't build great relationships with those who have a negative attitude towards you or your accomplishments. Encouraging those around you will not only build trust, but it will give them the confidence they need to succeed when times get tough.
- Appreciate others - Humans crave appreciation. Recognizing the importance of those around you and communicating their value to the team will pay huge dividends in the future. Appreciating others can take the form of giving credit for suggestions, correcting grievances, providing encouragement, and asking for the opinion of others.
- Forgive others - When we look back at mistakes we made in the past, we typically view our actions through the filter of intent. After all, we didn't mean to criticize so harshly. However, when we look at the actions of others, we judge through behavior. This allows us to easily jump to the conclusion that the negative actions of others were somehow done on purpose. However, this is rarely the case. Giving those around you the benefit of the doubt when something doesn't go as planned will help you focus on what's important and not waste time/energy fighting over things that don't matter.
- Listen to others - People want to be heard. If you have to make a tough decision, especially one that some of those around you disagree with, it's important to ensure everyone has an opportunity to voice their point-of-view before moving on. It's much easier to get buy-in from your team after everyone has been heard, regardless if they fully agree or not.
- Understand others - Peter Drucker says "60 percent of all management problems are a result of faulty communications." Taking the time to understand those around you will help avoid feelings of disappointment and resentment when navigating tense situations.
These five areas serve as the foundation for leading others. Success here can turn good leaders into great leaders through bringing out the best in the people on your team.