Relationships: The Real Leadership Pt. 3

Carl and Ellie from Disney's UP
Carl and Ellie from Disney’s UP

While attending college in Sacramento, I took a semester to study relationship psychology. It was evident that we are relational beings. I had experienced several manifestations of our relational nature through various work assignments. One of which was a sales role with a tea store, and our primary competition was Starbucks just across the way. Nearly my entire income was based off of commission, and I had one of the world’s largest coffee and tea chains as my competition. My personal sales strategy was to leverage building relationships with my customers. Treating them as if they were guests walking into my living room for advice. But, I needed to understand more about how people view relationships, and building them authentically. This is when I was introduced to authors, speakers, and teachers, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.

These two incredible people are dedicated to building life-long relationships. Not limited to family and marriage. Their book “Relationships: How to make bad relationships good and good relationships great” is an in-depth, perspective building, life changing, relationship development guide. It includes the latest research with exercises to help understand the requirements of forging strong, long-lasting relationships.

Their chapter titled, Friends to Die For, highlights four qualities that keep friendships going: Loyalty, Forgiveness, Honesty, and Dedication. “Personal sacrifice. Selfless devotion. Commitment. These are the noble qualities dedication requires,” writes the authors. Doesn’t that sound a lot like servant leadership?

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my review of Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller’s book, “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do.” There’s a section of the book that emphasizes the importance of relationship, and essentially bringing a human nature to business. #HumanBiz for Switch and Shift readers. The ‘V’ in “SERVE” represents “Value Results and Relationships.”

At this time in the book, Debbie Brewster is meeting with the president of her company, Jeff Brown, in a mentorship meeting. Jeff is going over Debbie’s past experience with an old volleyball coach, and together highlighting what qualities her coach exemplified while valuing results and relationships. Their list consists of: Listen, Invest Time, Care Deeply, Accentuate the Positive… and later Jeff also includes HEART. To quote John C. Maxwell, “People will not give you their hand until they can see your heart.”

What other traits do you think are essential to both building relationships and great leadership? Did you miss the other two posts of this 3-part series? Check out the first post here, and the second post here. Leave your comments below and follow me on Twitter at @AlexGaskins.

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