What Relationships Do I Need to Invest In?
When leaders take stock in their performance through a formal review or informal conversations, one issue often overlooked is the quality of their relationships.
The ability to get things done and to work through difficult decisions depends on a solid connection with others. In the course of a busy schedule, some relationships take a backseat to the tasks and projects that fill the calendar. In other instances, relationships suffer as leaders avoid certain individuals because of dissenting views or conflict.
Asking others what relationships you need to invest in often yields surprising answers. Colleagues typically have a clearer view of who struggles with the leader, or who feels they are being ignored or undervalued.
While it is not uncommon for leaders who ask this question to receive a list of relationships worth bolstering, it is more typical for colleagues to point to the same two or three people. When it is not obvious, asking others why they believe this is a relationship worth additional effort can also be insightful.
Once a leader lands on a shortlist of key relationships to invest in, the job at hand is to spend more time with these people, both on and off work topics.
However, telling others that they have been suggested for more attention is a surefire way to make whatever issues exist worse. No one wants to think they are now a “task” for the leader to achieve.
Instead, good leaders simply make an effort to ask the identified colleagues for their views more often, as well as spend the time and energy required of all good relationships.
Leaders like to think they intuitively know what issues are most important to focus on to improve their effectiveness. Critical relationships are often missing from this list. Knowing what relationships to invest in more heavily is a leg up towards making the team more effective. The quality of a leader’s relationships is an unequaled measure of how good they are.