Much has been said about how important relationships are for effective leadership. It’s true that leadership requires influential relationships with others to get things done. Yet it’s also true, and maybe even more significant, that it’s only through right relationships with others that we are even able to fully see what really needs to be done. Right relationships are interdependent, covenantal partnerships, not dependent contracts.
Interdependent relationships with courageous others help us better see things for what they really are, rather than we want them to be. Right relationships help leaders discover innovative opportunities, avoid strategic myopia, and select purposeful courses of action that others can support with enthusiasm and authenticity.
Can you see right relationship? Interdependent relationships should be REAL – characterized by responsibility, expectations, accountability, and learning:
- Responsibility: unless and until you assume full responsibility for your own behavior and results, you force others to assume responsibility for you. It is your responsibility to perform your job with ethical distinction and to care about what you do, who you do it with, and who you do it for. Personal responsibility is the foundation of interdependence.
- Expectations: healthy, interdependent relationships are characterized by mutual expectations that every party in the relationship recognizes as legitimate. To be a partner, you must care about the expectations others have of you, and you must have the courage to share with others the expectations you have of them. Expectations provide the framework for interdependence.
- Accountability: interdependent partners first hold themselves accountable for personal responsibility and reciprocal expectations. They then hold themselves accountable for enabling others to assume responsibility and exceed expectations. Finally, they hold others accountable for performing as promised and for caring about their work. Accountability is the glue that secures interdependence.
- Learning: interdependent relationships change and continuously improve over time as partners learn how they can assume more responsibility for themselves and how they can better enable others to assume the fullness of their roles. Learning and growth are the fulfillment of interdependence.
Can you see yourself in REAL relationships? Being REAL in our relationships with others is a skill we have to develop even if others never invite us to be REAL or treat us the same way. We are responsible for our behavior, not how others respond to our behavior. How well are you doing establishing REAL relationships with others at work?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!