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Daily Leadership Thought #151 – It’s All About Relationships

June 10, 2011

Free Group of cheerful young multiracial ladies laughing and dancing with beer bottles in hands during summer party on rooftop on sunny day Stock Photo

The quality of our life is largely defined by the quality of our relationships.

No matter who you are or what you do, your success in life will depend to varying degrees on the actions and behaviors of other people.   Correspondingly, the smartest or most talented people in organizations and societies don’t always end up with the greatest accomplishments or economic rewards.   Humility will always trump arrogance when it comes to your dealings with other people.  No one has the market cornered on clever ideas.  Any worthwhile idea requires commitment and execution.   This is why mediocre or average ideas that are well executed will regularly beat better ideas that have minimal support.  People must WANT to help you and see it in their best interest to do so.

Sadly, I’ve watched many promising careers derailed by individuals who have limited emotional intelligence.  They feel that they are successful despite other people, not because of them.  Micromanaging or worse denigration becomes commonplace as they struggle to achieve their vision of what should be done.   They are regularly of the belief that you “whip the horse to the finish line” rather than build a relationship based on common goals, mutual respect, and support.  Eventually you start to hear a lot of rationalizations as their dreams begin to backslide and careers stall.  Unfortunately, the safety net of healthy supportive relationships isn’t there for them when they fall.

Whether it is at work or home, all of us should be looking to grow friendships and supporters along the way.  The road can get rocky at times, and you want to have others there to catch you if you stumble or fall.   You’ll also need their helping hands and shoulders to stabilize you as you climb the next rung up the ladder.  Needlessly burning bridges on your journey makes no sense whatsoever.    We all need as many points of entry to success and happiness as possible and the best route isn’t always so clear.  Relationships help put positive guard rails along the path.

It is our common humanity that binds us together.   Families, friends, companies, communities, and nations will either thrive or struggle based on their understanding of this fact.  Everyone wants to feel valued.  Everyone wants to have a sense of self-respect.   We all like to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  There are also very few joys equal to having a role in helping someone else achieve more than they thought they were capable of and building their own sense of self-worth.   People will gladly follow and/or support another person who they believe has their best interest at heart.   And the question you must ask yourself is, “Why wouldn’t you…?”

As you continue in your career and life, I encourage you to find the good in other people even when it isn’t always easy.  Don’t rush to judgment.  Look for opportunities to share the credit and shoulder the blame.  Be there for people when they need you.  Offer a helping hand whenever you can.  Strive to build high quality long-term relationship and good things WILL happen.