By Tom Davidson
Successful leaders know that their jobs are both art and science – art being the area of forming relationships. Here are some of the things you can do to be an artful leader:
Successful leaders know that their jobs are both art and science. The science comes in the form of management skills like data collection, analysis and decision making. The art comes in the form of human relations skills like the top three featured in this blog series: communication, relationship and trust building.
• A – CommunicAtion
• R – Relationship
• T – Trust
I once had the opportunity to interview military officers as they left the service. When asked about the best leaders they had served under, the most common response might surprise you. Their best leaders cared about them. Here are some of the things you can do to be an artful leader who earns the discretionary effort of others and is never forgotten by the people they serve.
• Get to Know Your People – Set up weekly one-on-one meetings, not just to make assignments and get progress reports, but to get to know each person’s unique interests, goals and concerns. By taking a sincere interest in your people’s motivations and aspirations, you show you care and at the same time unearth valuable insights that will help you align the work with their naturally occurring internal drives.
• Help Your People Succeed – Once you know more about your people’s individual interests and aspirations, you can get them the experience, training or other support that will help them move closer to their goals. Make it clear how your everyday requests, assignments and delegations are helping them learn the skills they need to help them get to where they want to go. In return, they will give you greater effort, loyalty and results.
• Put Your People’s Needs First – Shift all the resources you can to your people, including budgets, time, training and visibility. When you go to war for your people, they go to war for you. In addition, always give the credit for success to your people while you take the blame for failure. By shining the light on them, it will reflect back on you.
If you think this is too “touchy feely,” you might be in the wrong business. But if you want to be an artful leader, it’s your job to build the kind of productive relationships that will lead to even better execution of the task.
How else do you build working relationships with your people? What do you have to say about these three top competencies for being an artful leader?