(This is a contributed post)
If you want to lead effectively, you need to be close to enough to relate to others.
Indeed, one of the key lessons of communication lies in connecting to your audience. A leader who shows they have something in common with their audience – whether the audience consists of employees, partners, or customers – is in the best possible position to establish a trustworthy relationship. In the business world, our similarities need to outnumber our differences if you’re trying to build an empathic connection.
Why does it matter? Because at the core of human trust, attention and relationship, there’s a need for one person to identify with the other. A leader nobody can identify with can’t convey any business message to their audience. The words you speak need to come from a place of commonality, a place where employees, partners and customers can share with you. Consequently, there can be no successful leadership without an ounce of relatability. However, maintaining any leadership position with success is a delicate art to master. But it begins with understanding what makes you relatable in the first place.
To be relatable, you need to be accessible
A leader who solely exists in a distant and isolated position will struggle to establish powerful and reliable relationships. Ultimately, the idea of a boss who leads from behind a shut door is not only unappealing; it is also old-fashioned. Modern employees and partners expect their manager to be approachable. It’s fair to say that cultivating isolation as a leadership position can only attract insubordination, disengagement and disinterest. On the contrary, leaders need to savvy and sincere networkers, both inside and outside the company to create opportunities. Ultimately, this means making yourself accessible to others, whether you’ve got your business card printing on a retainer for events or you know all your staff by name. To lead, you need to be seen.
Nobody finds perfection relatable; it’s dull
Nobody likes a boss who doesn’t trust you with tasks. The boss who does everything because they can’t trust their team enough to delegate is the kind of hands-on person who struggles to earn employees and partners’ confidence. Ultimately, it’s your role to know and accept that perfection isn’t possible, from you or your team. Consequently, you want to release your grip and encourage others to try their best and take on challenging tasks. Of course, mistakes might occur in the process. But mistakes are a positive learning tool, while perfection is an impossible obstacle.
The motivational quote policy doesn’t work; people want empathetic help
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.”
“Strong convictions precede great actions.”
It doesn’t matter how many of these quotes you print out and hang around the office. Motivational quotes don’t work. Your team wants to be inspired, but not by a few words printed out on paper. They need a leader to be there to help them improve and achieve their personal goals. The inspirational quote giver is, ultimately, just a waste of everybody’s time.
Leadership is about relationships. At the heart of it, you need a leader others can relate to, a leader who is approachable, values imperfections to progress, and offers guidance for self-improvement.