Building Relationships on Something Other than Work!
You can be a leader in a corporation, your own business, your church group, local club, parent group, or in your family. Most people are leaders in one form or another! As leaders, we’re charged with getting work done through people, in a timely manner to accomplish the greater goals. However, we spend most of our time planning, setting goals, attending meetings, problem solving and dealing with every day crises. Much of our daily work life is filled with urgent issues and interruptions that require immediate attention, leaving us little time for the truly important issues.
So how do we get things done through people?
I pondered this question as I was going to the barn one day. Yes, I have a barn and three horses. My beautiful mare, Jazz, teaches me many things about myself and provides many leadership lessons. She and I have worked together for five years, and it has been just that… WORK! And when I say work, I mean that our training process has been a struggle nearly every time we get together.
As I pondered the question of leadership and why it’s so difficult to get things done, I thought of my relationship with Jazz.
I thought about all the times I went to the barn, saddled her up, and expected to have a nice ride, only to have difficulties instead. I thought about her emotional outbursts. (Yes, horses have emotional outbursts!) I thought of the times she struggled to stand still and accept the saddle, to walk calmly from the barn to the pasture, to just walk when I was on her back, and of her explosive energy when we tried to ride. I found it funny that I kept seeing it as work when riding was supposed to be relaxing and fun. Our time together had been anything but relaxing… it was more like an emotional uproar. She was an emotional and explosive horse, plain and simple!
When we weren’t working, my time around Jazz was spent cleaning stalls, feeding, watering, and, occasionally, I'd brush her but that was rare. Normal brushing was part of our work routine. It dawned on me that our relationship was built on work and nothing else. We had no relationship! There was no fun in the process; it was hard, frustrating work that neither of us enjoyed. This was hard for me to admit, but unfortunately it was the truth.
So, I shifted our routine and tried getting to know Jazz in a new way. We began leaving the saddle in the barn, walking in the woods, shoulder to shoulder, and enjoying the beauty of the land together. We walked together, I talked to her as we walked and I sat in the field with her as she grazed. We developed a new relationship – one built on relaxation and enjoyment instead of frustration and work. I became more relaxed by spending more time outside with Jazz. Jazz looked forward to my visits to the barn. She would greet me with a warm whinny and was eager to spend time with me. We bonded in a different way; we learned about each other and enjoyed each other in a different arena. Our riding became more relaxed and more enjoyable, eliminating the work aspect of the relationship. It became fun and relaxing… exactly what I had wanted it to be from the start.
So, how does this translate into a leadership lesson?
If your relationships with your employees, family, group, etc. are focused solely on work, you have a very limited relationship. Knowing people in different arenas provides richness and builds a different, stronger bond between you. If the only time you converse with those who do the day-to-day work is when you give them more work, tell them about the screw-up on the last project, grumble when things aren't going fast enough, or give them a performance review then you’re getting limited output and not motivating their heart.
People don't work for a company; they work for a person. People yearn for connections and motivation. They want to know they are a valued person, not just a conduit to accomplish work. Knowing about them, their families, their hobbies and interests, just knowing them as a human being, will build more loyalty and trust than just talking about work.
How much time you spend on the important things:
What could be simpler? Try it and watch the return of your investment skyrocket!
Not sure how to begin?
We provide coaching that will jumpstart the process and help you develop critical relationship-building skills. For more information, simply reply to this email.
Wishing you a joyful holiday shared with the warmth of family and friends. And may the New Year bring success, happiness, and much needed peace to all of us through out the world.
DECEMBER 2006 ISSUE
"Increasing Human Effectiveness"
February 22-23, 2007
"Unharness Your Leader-Self"
March 8-9, 2007
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