Relating for the future
Imagine in the brave new world of work if the principle skill…the most prized, the most rewarded, the one most likely to distinguish the leader, was the ability to form high quality relationships.
It’s a scenario I see as a strong contender in our future workplaces given the on-going takeover of ‘traditional’ work by technology, robotics and AI that is reshaping the nature of the work we do. Consider, also, new generations with different aspirations entering the workplace – building engagement with a purpose will be vital. Engagement is built through the quality of relationships. This stuff matters.
On the face of it most of us humans could decide we’re ideally qualified for the top job given our inherent relationship skills. At the very least we might think we’re up to a leadership role. Not so fast though…
If we spend some time thinking about it relationship building requires more than being human. It takes work. It is the product of a complex weave of skills and qualities which require development and constant practising and polishing.
First up, do we have a healthy relationship with ourselves? Well-tuned self-awareness is a pre-requisite but there’s more. We need some healthy self-love (not the narcissistic kind) balanced with an appropriately constructive inner critic so we keep working on the stuff that’s not so good.
We’re adding to these foundations with: our ability to communicate in a way that can be heard, that’s shaped to the individual preferences of others, and to listen actively; our ability to extend trust to others, and our own trustworthiness and reliability (what others experience); our levels of openness and honesty; and our willingness to be vulnerable.
As leaders we have to set the standard around this – leading the way with our own practice and helping shape a culture that values relating.