As agents of change, relationships become an important part of the work. Without relationships it becomes very hard to influence others to change. It seems very intuitive when you say it, but sometimes it is forgotten.
At the start, it is your knowledge and skills about the subject (Skills/IQ) that creates the foundation of the relationship. If you prove to the person you know what you are doing, it creates a foundation of trust.
As the relationship progresses over time, it becomes less about your knowledge. You have proven overtime the skills and knowledge to the other person. Now it becomes about understanding the other person and what makes them tick (Emotional Intelligence/EQ). Keeping the connection while still having open and honest conversations becomes the skill that helps create more and more influence as time moves forward.
I heard this and took the time to reflect on my own relationships. I found this to be true. My skills have gotten my “foot in the door” with people and then once my knowledge was established then it become about how I could connect with the person on a one-on-one level.
As you think about your relationships, do you find this to be true? What are your thoughts?
Why were you hired? Chances are it was for a set of technical skills you had at a time the company needed them. You interviewed and were hired based on those set of skills you brought to the table, whether it be lean, six sigma, engineering, accounting, etc..
Now, think about the exceptional leaders you have had in the past. What made them exceptional in your opinion? Some of the responses I have gotten from groups in the past are:
- Cared for people
- Understood the business needs and could relate it to my work
- Kept us focused on the top priorities
- Worked with integrity
- Knew what each individual needed to get the job done
- Helped me grow and understand the business better
- Removed roadblocks for my work
This is just a few, but I think it drives home the point. The leaders that stand out in people’s minds as exceptional knew how to connect with people and worked to develop them or support the individual. It centered around relationships.
While we are hired in for a set of technical skills, the leaders that do well and are looked at for promotion do well with relationships. Not sucking up and creating a good old boy/girl network. Not that type of relationship. People can see through that. But the type of relationships that helped people get their jobs done.
As leaders, the relationship skills are even more important than the technical skills. Yet, people spend more time developing technical skills and not the relationship skills. Why is that? Is it because the technical skills are more tangible?
Relationship skills are hard. In order to become better with relationships a person has to learn more about themselves and how they act in certain situations. What can cause them to overreact or become uninterested? Self reflection is hard for a lot of people to do. The people that can self reflect and work on relationships have a very good chance of improving their relationships. This is a big step in becoming a person considered by others as an exceptional leader.
What do you work on improving most? Technical skills? Or relationship skills?
Which do you think is more important?