You have heard it said, “It’s not what you know, its who you know?” This is no more true than in your role as a leader. Taking this concept just a step further, it isn’t just who you know, but how well you know them. In a word, this is about the first “R” in being a good coach, mentor or ministry leader… Relate. Relate is really the verb form of a good relationship. It is relationship in action. It is priority one and the foundation on which stronger relationships and widening influence are based. Take Jesus, for example, the ultimate relational leader. By all accounts He spent three years developing depth in relationship with a group of potential leaders that would find them following in His footsteps and fully invested long after He was physically there to lead them. Of course, His whole agenda was purely relational, repairing in sacrificial love the rift caused by sin and making reconciliation with us a reality once and for all.
Here are a few questions to consider as you grow in the art of relational leadership…
- How well are you relating with those you are leading? Be honest with yourself.
- Be a brave leader and ask your lead team, “Am I relational?” “Why or why not?”
- Do times of sharing feel like obligatory footnotes to the real business of driving your agenda?
- Are you a good listener? Again, what would your team (or, better yet, spouse!) say?
- Do you tend towards information (lecture) or inquiry (questions) in your communication & leadership strategy?
- What are you doing specifically to encourage strong relationships in your lead team?
Think about what Bob Logan and Sherilyn Carlton have to say about coaching, and ask how it can apply to you as a servant leader… “Ultimately, coaching is about helping people think for themselves within the context of relationship. Solid listening skills form the heart of a good coaching relationship: they provide relational support, draw out people’s best thinking, help them sort through their options, and encourage them as they make their own decisions. Through listening we form a bond with those we are coaching. And every step of the way, it lets them know that they’re not in it alone.” (Coaching 101 – Discover the Power of Coaching, 2003)
I’d love to hear from you!