Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Leading Relationships

While looking for something else, l  found this quote:

"Appreciate you without judging. Join you without invading, Invite you
without demanding. Leave you without guilt."
Virginia Satir

It reminded me that part of a leader's role is in leading relationships. That's not the same as directing or controlling them. Leading relationships has more to do with taking personal responsibility for what you bring to a relationship -- whether that's at work, in the community, at home...anywhere. Relationships can not be taken for granted. To truly lead, we must remain attentive to the kinds of relationships we are co-creating.

Appreciate you without judging

We don't always have the answer, but we usually think that we do. Effective leaders listen with their whole being. We bring our soul to the game. We wait to be touched before reaching out to correct. We appreciate and allow for differences.  Courageous leaders correct dangerous situations, but hold back from judging when the risk is only to our own egos.

Join you without invading

To collaborate, to co-create, leaders must forge the kinds of relationships where we share space, energy, time, and consideration. We connect. But we allow that connecting to be mutually beneficial, mutually wanted, and mutually nurtured. It's not about us. It's about US.

Invite you without demanding

Leaders must become masters of influence without becoming masters of manipulation. Do you see the difference? Isn't the most effective influence more of an invitation than a command? People will naturally resist commands, creating a constant need for ever more stringent commands until revolution topples the authority. That's not best for leadership. High performance leaders create invitations that are irresistible because those invitations include the fingerprints of many people.

Leave you without guilt

I'm not sure what Dr. Satir meant by this (and if you are I'm interested in hearing from you) but it seems that it could be to create a relationship so full, so strong, so compassionate, so creative, and so clear that upon parting there is no remorse. Leaders should do no harm, especially in their relationships. While it may sadden me to part company from you, I hope to be able to do so knowing that our work and living and sharing together has been full, satisfying, and complete.

Relationships are not just the key to leadership success, they are the key to our very happiness.

How will you care for your relationships today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

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