6 Qualities of Relational Leaders
Welcome to the Relational Dimension of Leadership
Good leaders bring whatever is required to move a situation forward, whether it’s inspiring others with a vision, challenging the status quo, or taking a bold risk. The best leaders also bring awareness and care to the quality of their relationships. This requires a variety of skills and ways of being sometimes known as relational leadership.
Relational leadership puts the quality of relationships on an equal footing with all other practical outcomes. I believe that how we do something together matters as much as what we are doing. When we collaborate in ways that are mutual, voluntary, and connected, we increase the likelihood we will want to collaborate again. Relational leaders motivate others towards an outcome and make the journey together along the way worthwhile.
“Relational leadership puts the quality of relationships on an equal footing with all other practical outcomes.”
Through nearly a decade of facilitating groups, coaching teams and leaders, I’ve developed an overall sense of relational leadership that I want to share with you here.
Relational Leaders Are Authentic
If you’re a relational leader, you inspire trust by bringing your best, honestly and genuinely. You’ll share your motives and goals openly. You’ll have an accurate sense of both your strengths and weaknesses, free of the impulse to keep them hidden. You’ll make clear and direct requests. You’ll feel comfortable in your own skin, consistently across circumstances, and this will set others at ease around you. You’ll express yourself congruently, meaning that your words, your tone of voice, and your body language will be in alignment. You’ll make only the agreements and commitments you can truly get behind. You’ll do your best to honor your commitments, and when you don’t, you’ll take responsibility for the consequences and do what you can to make things right.
To get a good sense of this, I encourage you to check out the TED talks “The Power of Vulnerability”, with Brené Brown, and “The Power of Authenticity”, with Mike Robbins. As you listen to their stories, you may tune in to what authenticity feels like. Similarly, as you develop your own relational leadership, you’ll develop a richer sense of when you’re actually bringing it…