3 tips for becoming a more relational leader

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a fairly harsh blog post entitled, “If you can’t get along with people…don’t be a leader!” Demonstrating honesty, integrity and trust are all key characteristics for getting along with people. But what else? No matter where you are in your leadership journey, improvement or honing your skills should always be at the forefront of your development. Even if you are well-known as a relational leader, these snippets of advice are still great reminders.

  • Listen:
    • There is good reason why God gave us two ears and only one mouth.
    • Matthew Kelly provides this powerful quote, “To be a great listener requires patience, focus, awareness, and most of all it requires us to set aside our own agenda.”
    • Please don’t interrupt even though you may have the right answer. People need to be heard and if you are constantly interrupting, when they tell their story and you won’t know it.
  • Lead with questions:
    • The person doing the thinking is likely the person doing the learning. Start with questions that ask them to think about the situation to provide you perspective. “What do you think you know about…?
    • Advice should only be given when there is no other option or someone is going to get hurt without the advice.
    • Use pluralistic questions. “What might be some ways…?” This gives options to the person not to get stuck on only one answer.
  • Show you care and are interested:
    • This really begins with simply listening but you can’t be relational without showing an interest in the other person.
    • Please don’t pull out your phone when they are talking to anything else that distracts you. They deserve your full attention not partial!
    • There is always a story…find out what it is!

Being a relational leader is never easy. It calls us to go beyond the superficial but then again, what great leadership doesn’t require that!

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