We’ve said previously Relational Leadership is based on the insight that leaders and followers are in a relationship. We’ve also said that Relational Leadership is about connecting with the values and motivations of the followers. So how do we import Relational Leadership into an organization without “blowing it up?”
We start with the leadership team. Cleve Stevens writing over at Forbes recommends taking the leadership team off-site to have a heart to heart conversation. His focus on self-awareness is a good start. What kind of leader do I want to be? How do others perceive my leadership? Are there “personal stories” lurking under the surface that seem to drive my decisions?
Another good exercise for the leadership team would be to list the major decisions made by the team in the last 30-60 days. Examine each decision for the following Relational Leadership components:
- How do the decisions made reflect the values of the organization?
- Were the people who are affected by the decision given input?
- Did we unwittingly take responsibility away from someone (i.e., treat them like a child instead of a partner)?
- Could the decision have been made on a “lower level?” If so, why wasn’t it?
- How thorough/complete was our communication of the decision to others?
The answers to these questions will be revealing. If the conversation seems to be monopolized by references to positional authority and power instead of maximizing human potential in solving problems, you realize you have a way to go. However, be encouraged. You’ve taken the first steps to correcting misconceptions of leadership. Your leaders will remember these questions the next time they are in session. Make sure they do!
What does Relational Leadership look like in action? Part Four will answer that question.