Have you ever stopped to think about the many ways you might describe who you are and what you do for a living? I challenge you to set aside the next five (5) minutes to do just that, describe who you are and what you do.
Grab a piece of blank paper and pen and start jotting down one-word answers to the question. In one-word responses, describe who you are and what you do.
Are you a sibling, someone’s child, a supervisor, a co-worker, a teacher, etc.?
Once you have completed the five minutes, look back over each word and decide if they are a type of relationship or not.
In most cases, you will discover that virtually every way you describe yourself and others represents some form of relationship. We can not escape the fact that we are relational beings. We might conclude that everything is about relationships.
If we conclude that relationship is at the heart of all we are, all we do, and what we are becoming, then shouldn’t we make relationship our chief subject of study?
Ask yourself, “If I were better at making, keeping, and growing healthy relationships, how would my life and work change? The answer might surprise you.
Relationships make the entire world go around. We are relationship-driven people, communities, and culture. Everything thrives or dies based upon its relationship to everything else; if you are a leader in business, a church, community organization, or club, then understand that leadership is first and foremost a Relationship.
How well the organization I lead performs is tied directly to my relationship with the people I lead. The real challenge of a relationship is that it is never one-sided. As the old saying goes, “It takes to two to tango.” The current struggle many businesses face today with the so-called “Great Resignation” is a symptom of the failure of leaders to understand that leadership is a relationship.
In the end, we have discovered that everyone is a volunteer. Leaders must learn and continually reinforce the truth that no one works for you, but they work with you. You may direct their work and activities, but they ultimately control where they invest their time and talent to create revenue and profit for their home.
Each person actually works for themself, and your business or organization is just the vehicle they use to generate their profit.
Leadership is a relationship and therefore requires care and attention to strengthen and make it lasting. There is an old bit of wisdom about marriage that may apply here,
The young newlywed husband saw an older gentleman he knew from childhood eating alone in a restaurant. He walked up to his table and greeted his older friend. The older man looked up from his plate and smiled as he returned the greeting and congratulated his young acquaintance on his recent marriage.
The young man decided to ask a bit of relationship advice from his old friend who had been long since divorced, “Sir when is the best time to tell my wife that I love her?” The older man looked sternly at the young husband and, without changing his expression, said, “Before someone else does!”
As leaders, when should we tell our team that we value them? Before someone else does.
Why, because leadership is first and foremost a relationship.