Tanveer Naseer

The Importance of Relationship-Building in Today's Leadership (Tanveer Naseer)

Winning Well Connection

We’ve gotten to know Tanveer through his fantastic leadership writing and thought leadership over the years. He’s been a regular contributor to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival the last few years and a kindred spirit on blending the bottom line with the human spirit.

Relationships For Complex Times

Leadership today has certainly become a complex endeavor.  With an increasingly interconnected global market, along with growing demands on a leader’s time, attention, and resources, it can be challenging at times for leaders to ascertain where they need to be putting more of their focus and effort.

But if there’s one area that leaders should always be paying attention to it’s how well they are building and nurturing relationships with those they lead.  Although most leaders have come to realize that leading through influence is far more effective than leading by authority, the challenge still remains that we ensure that the measures we put in place are serving the best interests of our employees, as opposed to simply lessening the demands we face.

This is where relationship-building becomes critical to our ability to succeed at leadership.  By focusing on building and sustaining relationships with our employees, we send a clear message that our focus is not simply on ourselves, but on how we can help our employees to succeed and thrive under our leadership.

Relationship-building also encourages us to be honest about our motivations and the decisions we make, because they are no longer simply transactional in nature.  Instead, we become mindful of the impact our choices and decisions have on others and consequently, how and what we should communicate to provide them with some context for why things are the way they are.

As I’ve written and spoken about through my work, the true function of leadership is not what you gain, but what you give of yourself to help others.  That we not use our role simply to improve ourselves, but that we help those under our care to become that better version of who they can be.

That’s why people are drawn to work for some of today’s successful leaders – not because of the successes those leaders have achieved, but because of their outward focus on those around them.  A focus to better understand their employees in terms of what matters to them, what inspires them to bring forth their best efforts, and how they can connect that to the shared purpose of the organization.

Interestingly, this paradigm shift from the traditional top-down, command-and-control style of leadership to one based more on a collective interdependence offers a unique form of support for leaders that’s especially needed thanks to the faster pace which we now have to operate.  Namely, that by building relationships with those we lead, we give ourselves permission as leaders to not have all the answers.

Indeed, given the increasing complexity of today’s workplace environments, it’s impossible for leaders to know everything that’s going on, which is why delegation has become so critical to our collective ability to succeed and grow.

There’s no question that relationship-building requires intentional efforts on our part, but it’s important that we understand that it’s no longer requisite because it’s simply the ‘right thing to do.’  Rather, we need to appreciate how relationship-building has become a critical cornerstone to leadership success, if not also how we can ensure that we’re able to inspire the best from those we have the responsibility to lead.

Winning Well Reflection

We appreciate Tanveer’s observation that by building relationships you also give yourself the flexibility to be a leader who asks the right questions – as opposed to one who has to have all the right answers. In our executive leadership roles we’ve both had employees come to us as we were stressed out, becoming overly-directive, and they encouraged us to “Trust the team. We’ll find the answers together.” That’s an incredible power of relationship.

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