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Leadership Is A Relationship

photo credit: Kevin Dooley via Flickr

Typically, personal-best leadership experiences challenge the myth that leadership is something that you find only at the highest levels of organizations and society; it is found everywhere. History also challenges the belief that leadership is reserved for a few charismatic men and women. Leadership is not a gene and is not an inheritance; it is an identifiable set of skills and abilities that are available to all of us. The ‘‘great person’’—woman or man—theory of leadership is just plain wrong. Likewise, it is wrong to say that leaders only come from large, great, small, or new organizations – from established economies, or from start-up companies.

Exemplary leaders are the everyday heroes of our world. It is because there are so many leaders that extraordinary things get done on a regular basis, especially in extraordinary times. This is inspiring and should give everyone hope because:

  • it means that no one needs to wait around to be saved by someone riding into town on a white horse.
  • there is a generation of leaders searching for the opportunities to make a difference.
  • right down the block or right down the hall there are people who will seize the opportunity to lead you to greatness. They’re your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. And you are one of them, too.

There’s still another crucial truth about leadership. It’s something that we’ve known for a long time, but we’ve come to prize even more today, the message that leadership is a relationship.

Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. It’s the quality of this relationship that matters most when we’re engaged in getting extraordinary things done. A leader-constituent relationship that’s characterized by fear and distrust will never ever produce anything of lasting value. A relationship characterized by mutual respect and confidence will overcome the greatest adversities and leave a legacy of significance.

Even in this nanosecond world of e-everything, opinion is consistent with the facts. In an online survey, respondents were asked to indicate, among other things,

“Which will be more essential to business success in five years—social skills or skills in using the Internet?”

  • Social Skills: 72%
  • Internet Skills: 28%

Internet literati completing a poll online realize that it is not the web of technology that matters the most; it’s the web of people. Leadership is a relationship.

Similar results were found in a study by Public Allies, an Ameri-Corps organization dedicated to creating young leaders who can strengthen their communities. Public Allies sought the opinions of Millennials (18-33 year olds) on the subject of leadership. Among the items was a question about the qualities that were important in a good leader.

  • Topping the respondents’ list is “Being able to see a situation from someone else’s point of view”.
  • In second place is ‘‘Getting along well with other people”

Success in leadership, success in business, and success in life have been, is now, and will continue to be a function of how well people work and play together. Success in leading will be wholly dependent upon the capacity to build and sustain those human relationships that enable people to get extraordinary things done on a regular basis.

Visit us to learn more about how the Five Behaviors program can transform your workplace, just like it has done for thousands of others. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

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