The following is commentary by Dr. Charles H. Wheatley
In Wheatake 75, I reflected on communication and its relationship to effective leadership. In Wheatake 76, the third quality of effective leadership on which I am reflecting is”Building Strong Working Relationships.”
A leader is a builder and a builder has to forge good working relationships with his subordinates to ensure productive outcomes during the building process. In order to achieve productive outcomes, the leader has to possess and demonstrate qualities that spread sunshine through all types of weather, soften the hearts of those under his leadership, practise transparency in bonding with them individually and collectively. Some of the characteristics needed by the leader in developing these relationships are: trust, compassion, commitment, respect, transparency, forgiveness, love, appreciation, empathy, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, respecting others boundaries, consistency, patience, and humility.
As a leader for many decades in various organizations, I have found and internalize the following characteristics effective in developing strong, lasting relationships:
1. Practice open honest communication, calling a spade a spade; 2. Invest in the growth, development, and progress of those I lead; 3. Develop mutual trust between myself and my followers and also among followers and followers (a bitter pill to swallow sometimes); 4. Show respect and appreciation for co-workers’ achievements; 5. Share compassion and empathy with team members; 6. Rebuke without humiliation.
I tried to weave a relationship tapestry of brilliance, sincerity, transparency, kindness and humility. There were challenging times when I stopped, took stock and wondered if I was on the right track. If I had to repent and seek forgiveness I did so and continued.
Any leader who is worth his salt has to be cognizant of and engaging in these characteristics when seeking to develop effective relationships. He will be tried in fires of opposition undermining strategies, false accusations, and tried in the court of public opinion, but my advice is not to be distracted by the players especially the naysayers. Here are somethings you can do as a leader seeking to build progressive and effective relationships:
1. Develop trust in your colleagues. Not easy in the B. V. I. where rumor and melee pre occupy fertile minds.
2. Maintain consistent communication but you will find some agouti with horns.
3. Show respect and appreciation for others but do not expect anything in return.
4.Speak well about your teammates even though they deride you.
5. Always demonstrate a positive attitude even in the most negative situation.
I share four quotes which I believe may be helpful in developing cordial and effective relationships:
” 1. Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
2. “I’ve learned that there is no currency like trust and no catalyst like hope. There is nothing worse for building relationships than pandering, on one hand, and preaching on the other. And the most important quality we must all strengthen in ourselves, is that of a deep human empathy, for that will provide the most hope of all the foundation for our collective survival.
3. A unique relationship develops among team members who enter into dialogue regularly. They develop a deep trust that cannot help but carry over to discussions. They develop a rich understanding of the uniqueness of each person’s point of view.
4. Finally, here is the best and surest source of trust: Psalms 125: 1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abided forever.