Editor’s note: This is the fourth in the series of Robin Sharma blog posts for his six-week leadership challenge, “Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be.” Join the discussion on Facebook about Robin’s challenge posts.
Leadership is a people sport. The best of the best understand that people do business with people they like. People do business with people they trust, and people do business with those who make them feel special. Please remember this simple, yet transformational, idea: When you take care of the relationship, the money will take care of itself. In my new book, The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life (Simon and Schuster), I share a process to build world-class relationships with your teammates and clients that will cause you to have spectacularly strong bonds so that you receive unbeatable results. And it all starts with understanding that the deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership. People just won’t follow/support/help people they don’t like/trust/respect.
Here are six powerful moves you can make to be the best relationship builder in every room you happen to be in:
1. Give Away What You Most Want. Want more respect from those you work with or from the customers you are fortunate enough to serve? Give them all more respect. Want more appreciation? Give more appreciation away. Hope to have more loyalty? Be exceptionally loyal (in a world where loyalty is a lost art). The best way to influence other people is through the awesome power of your best example. Give away all that you most wish to receive. People will love you for it.
2. Leverage the Power of Circulation. “The business of business is people,” said Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. Yes, we have more technology than ever before and we can access the world’s information with a single Google search, but I think it’s also true that we’ve never been less emotionally connected with people. I’m not talking about being wired through e-mail or cell phones. I’m speaking of real human connections, the kind that cause people to believe in you—and go to the wall to help you win. There is extraordinary power in circulating. Just being out there, having lunch with your teammates and breaking bread with your customers is important. When people get to know you, they’ll be first in line to do some serious business with you.
3. Treat People Like VIPs. By now, you know my main focus as an author and consultant is helping people in organizations “Lead Without a Title.” In these turbulent times we work in, the single best move an organization can make is to develop the leadership talent of every single person at every possible level. Now, anyone can lead, whether they’re the receptionist or the vice president of sales. And one of the defining behaviors of leadership without a title is leaving everyone you meet better than you found them. Be one of those rare people who inspire others to step into their best and raise the game at which they play—regardless of your rank. And treat everyone you know like they are royalty. Common sense? Yes. Common practice? No.
4. Listen Like a Genius. Listening involves more than waiting until the speaker has stopped speaking. Yet, in our hyper-fast world, few people in business have dedicated themselves to being a “wow” of a listener. Here’s the thing: When you become brilliant at listening, people feel that you care about them. When they feel you care about them, they begin to care about you. And when people care about you, your success becomes a part of how they define their success.
5. Say “Please” and “Thank You.” “Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization,” said management guru Peter Drucker. “Please” means “I respect you,” and “Thank you” means “I appreciate you.” To grow your relationships and lead the field, manage your manners so people see that you strongly value them.
6. Focus on Value Generation (versus Ego Gratification). Former President Harry Truman said, “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” Leave your ego at the door every morning, and just do some truly great work. Few things will make you feel better than a job brilliantly done. And the more you focus on adding value to as many people as possible, the more all those ego pursuits, like a bigger title, more money and greater acclaim, will show up for you in the best of ways. And that would be a good thing.