Do you know who needs to be treated like trusted lovers, just friends or passing acquaintances? Successful leaders know how to manage the level of intimacy required to cultivate a range of relationships.
Technology, especially with the advent of social media (Facebook LinkedIn, etc.), and search (Google, etc.) has made work life far more intimate than ever before. We know a lot more about each other as co-workers, customers, friends, vendors, bosses than ever before. How good are you at handling intimacy? Knowing and reacting appropriately to the level of intimacy required in your team, in your network is a very new skill for most people. It is especially critical for leaders to get it right. If not, what you see are two dysfunctional extremes:
1. people who use this new found intimacy to start rumors and gossip incessantly, or;
2. people who are paralyzed by intimacy and ignore elephants sitting in the room.
Leaders can help their staff and teams avoid these two extremes by modeling a range of behaviors needed for relationship management. What does that look like? Here are some of the behaviors good relationship leaders do…
- manage conflict productively and avoid getting sucked into taking sides, gossiping, alienating others
- actively listen to others
- know when to use technology to communicate and when to use face-to-face interaction
- give thoughtful and helpful feedback so you, in return, will get quality feedback
- handle difficult conversations productively; you are able to reject the idea or behavior without rejecting the other person so communication stays intact
- use confrontation effectively
- willingly reveal feelings and willingly show vulnerability; admit that you don’t know everything
Being good at managing relationships is critical to building a successful leadership presence. People who have effective relationships can influence others. And isn’t that what leadership is really all about — influencing others to achieve goals?