Why Your Relationships Affect Your Leadership

One look at this post’s title and you might already be asking, “Really? Are relationships really that big of a deal for a leader?”

In short, yes.

When I think about relationships and leadership, several thoughts come to my mind, but the most meaningful thought for me is companionship. Think about it. Our relationships with our spouse, our kids, our friends, our teammates, and yes even our Father in Heaven…each of these relationships brings us some form of needed companionship. The more passionate the relationship is, the more fulfilling it is.

The relationship element is just as vital in leadership. John Maxwell discusses the importance of relationships in his 5 Levels of Leadership model. He places relationships at the second level and suggests that you cannot progress to level three or beyond if you don’t master the relationship level. My experience, both as a leader and a follower, validates this belief.

This may be my Achilles’ heel, but I’ll confess it anyway:

  • If I don’t like or trust you, I won’t buy from you.
  • If I don’t like or trust you, I won’t follow you.
  • If I don’t like or trust you, I won’t lead you well.

Solid relationships built on trust will come back to you 360 degrees. I’ve been the beneficiary of these kinds of relationship returns. I can’t tell you how humbled and blessed I am to still benefit from some wonderful relationships with former teammates.

My challenge for all of us is to step out of our “safe relationship zone” and form stronger relationships with others whether they are business relationships, teammate relationships, or relationships in our home. We all rely on and lead one another more than we realize! Yet it is way easier to talk and write about relationships than it is to build them. Why is that? I think it’s because forming a trusting bond and connecting with others takes time, and in today’s business atmosphere, who has that kind of time?

Today I want to encourage you to step over or knock down any “perceived” boundaries you have with others you interact with. You must take the time to form lasting relationships because your ability to build relationships is a non-negotiable element if you are going to lead others.


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  • Anonymous says:

    I feel like my leader falls into the “Who has that kind of time?” mentality. Granted she stays very busy, but I’ve worked for her for a while now, and it’s still very much a boss-employee relationship.

    • Linda Sasser says:

      My next post will hopefully give you some ideas on developing a relationship with your boss. You may have to be the one who starts the process. Don’t wait for her to take the lead. Maybe you can help her become a better leader.

      Check out Thursday’s post, hopefully that will give you some ideas.

      Thanks for your comment.