Have you ever wondered how successful leaders build successful organizations? Learn how a relational leadership-based organization should work, the meaning and message of relational leadership, and how to avoid common pitfalls.
First, we should start by giving a quick primer as to what is Relational Leadership Organization? A growing body of literature indicates that a new form of leadership is emerging in organizations.
This approach, known as relational leadership model, focuses on building trust-based relationships instead of creating compliance through hierarchical power structures. There are many benefits to having an organization with the bottom-line focus of relational leadership and these benefits come from the increased sense of engagement, collaboration, innovation and teamwork within an organization.
In a relational leadership organization, people are no longer just viewed as employees as was the case with legacy businesses. Rather, they should be viewed as individuals in whom an investment has been made to both develop and serve. In such an organization, people matter, and their performance is not directly linked to the annual bottom line or quarterly profits. The success of the organization is now measured by some other factors that also include an improved leadership competency.
Leadership is not easy, especially in the context of relational degrees. Many leaders commit mistakes due to lack of knowledge, understanding, and experience. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common and most harmful relational leadership mistakes that you, as a people leader, could make.
One of the common mistakes that leaders could make is that they don’t understand the scope of their role’s responsibilities as a relationship leader. When this happens, it can hinder their ability to effectively lead their teams.
When it comes to leading relationships, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of your role. However, it’s essential that you clearly define the scope of your responsibilities as a relationship leader. This will help ensure that you’re not neglecting important tasks or relationships.
Leadership is a complex subject. It’s difficult to know where to start when you’re new to it, or even if you’ve been at it for years. You can find yourself in situations where you’re not sure how to handle certain situations, or what’s expected of you. For example, relationship leaders often have difficulty knowing how far they can go in supporting their direct reports with relationship issues that are not directly related to work. Or perhaps they don’t know how much time and energy should be invested in building relationships outside of work hours.
Because of the nature and size of organizations, the scope of your responsibilities as a relationship leader can vary widely. In some organizations, the relationship leader is responsible for a group of people only and may have no other responsibilities. Collective leadership, in other organizations, relationship leaders are expected to coordinate with other managers who manage different types of resources (financial, facilities, etc.). And in still other organizations, relationship leaders are responsible for managing relationships across all types of resources.
Regardless of how broad or narrow your role is, you need to know what it means for your team members. This knowledge will help you make better decisions about what type of support they need and when they need it.
The scope of responsibilities as a relational leader is far wider than what it used to be in hierarchical organizations. As a relationship leader, you need to build strong bonds with your team members and create an environment where they feel comfortable expressing their concerns and ideas openly with you. The best way to do so is by being accessible, but not too much (more on that in the next point).
The second mistake is failing to strike a balance between being accessible to your team and keeping some distance at the same time. As a relationship leader, you should be available when they need you, but not so available that they don’t feel independent and trustworthy.
If you’re always around, it might feel like your team members can’t do anything without you. This means that they’ll start to feel stressed out because they need help all the time. Being always available, could send the message that you don’t trust them to get their work done without your supervision. It also leaves no room for them to develop the skills that they need to be successful.
On the other hand, if you’re not there at all times, it creates uncertainty in the team and makes people feel like they can never reach out to you when they need help. If you’re not around often enough, then your team members might start feeling lonely and neglected. This may create insecurity among team members, which in turn could lead to an unhealthy work environment.
A good idea is to find the middle ground between being accessible and being hard to get.
It can be hard to find balance between being there enough and still respecting their independence.
You want to give them space to grow and learn while still keeping them accountable. So how do you know when to step in and when to back off? The answer lies in your relationship with each individual on your team.
For example, if one of your direct reports has been struggling with an issue for some time and hasn’t come to you for help yet, don’t hesitate! It could mean they are waiting for you to show interest or are afraid of looking stupid in front of you by asking questions they think they should already know the answer to.
People want to know where they can stand with you. They want to feel like they’re important to you, but they also need space.
Your availability as a boss, or the lack thereof, has something to do with your way of delegating tasks to your subordinates/teammates.
Delegating work to your team members can be a tricky task, but it’s necessary for a successful business. If you don’t delegate, you’ll end up doing much of the work yourself and will become overwhelmed. On the other hand, if you do delegate too much, you’ll lose control over what gets done and when. When delegating work to employees, it’s important to strike a balance between giving them too much or too little responsibility.
We can give you two guidelines that can help:
If you don’t think this is an urgent matter to tend to, then probably you still think it’s important, and that leads us to our next mistake.
Related: The 5 Stages of Delegation
Urgency is a natural part of the business world; it’s how we get things done. But it can also lead you to prioritizing the urgent over the important. And this is a big mistake!
There’s a common saying that goes “hurry up and wait!” Many organizations operate under a similar principle.
In organizations that put a premium on urgency, leaders often find themselves running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they’re trying to get everything done at once. They become so overwhelmed by all of their tasks that they start rushing through each one without thinking things through first or delegating responsibility appropriately (if at all). The problem with this is that it makes people feel like they’re always spinning their wheels, never getting anything done.
You have to be careful not to lose sight of what’s important. In this case, “what’s important” is often referred to as your mission or vision. Your mission statement tells you what you stand for and your vision gives you direction on where you’re headed. When those two things are aligned, it can help keep your team focused on what’s truly meaningful and valuable to the organization.
A lot of people confuse urgency with importance. They think if something is urgent, it’s important. But that’s not true. Urgency is about time; importance is about impact. If you’re spending all your time on low-impact items, you can’t get to the high-impact ones.
If you don’t have a good sense of what’s important, then you become overly reactive in a very negative way. When something goes wrong, it’s easy to go into panic mode and jump on it. But in reality, most things are not urgent; they’re just important for some reason or another to some degree or another.
Urgent things can often wait until later, but important things should always be done right away because they’re important—even if they’re not urgent at all!
Having said that, there’s an urgently important matter you should be paying attention to, and that’s technological innovation.
Organizations of all types—from corporations and governments to nonprofits and religious institutions—are facing an ongoing disruptive technological change.
In a fast-changing world, leaders need to be constantly monitoring their environment and adjusting their strategies accordingly. But many organizations fail to do so. They don’t adjust their strategies quickly enough when the marketplace changes or when competitors introduce new products and services.
This can be especially problematic when it comes to technology. Companies that don’t anticipate the impact of technological change on their business often find themselves at a disadvantage against more agile competitors.
How can you avoid this mistake? One way is to understand how your organization functions today, and brainstorm how it might function in the future if certain trends continue.
The key to successful, long-term leadership is not just about mastering the art of management. It’s also about being able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Anticipating or adapting to technological change can be difficult for leaders who are accustomed to having things their way. That’s why it’s important for leaders to build in a degree of flexibility into their organizations, so that they can respond quickly and flexibly when events beyond their control demand a change in strategy or direction.
Talking of tech innovation, we would be remiss not to mention AllActivity which is disrupting time tracking & productivity management within organizations. This next-gen solution is designed to help you stay organized and on track with your work, so you can focus on more important things. On top of that, with AllActivity you would stay ahead of the game come any potential technological developments in the field.
AllActivity also improves giving optimal feedback, our last, but not least, point.
In a Relational Leadership organization, feedback is the lifeblood of personal and organizational development. As a leader, you have a responsibility to help others improve their performance. And by doing so, you’re helping both them and the organization be more successful.
But how do you know if your feedback is helpful? And what if it isn’t? You can’t expect people to change if they aren’t given feedback that’s clear and constructive. This means that you need to provide specific examples of what they did well and where they can improve. The type of feedback will vary depending on the situation, but it should always be personalized and authentic.
As a leader, you have the responsibility to help your team grow and develop. If you don’t provide feedback, they won’t know where they stand. If they don’t know where they stand, they can’t improve. And if they can’t improve, you might end up losing them. As a leader, you need to be open to receiving feedback from your team about how they feel about their job, their co-workers and you as a manager. You need to also be willing to give feedback back to them so that there is no confusion about what is expected of them and how well they are doing it.
Asking for feedback from your team members is also an important step in building trust. They will feel more valued if you ask for their opinion on how things are going and what needs improvement.
Providing feedback isn’t just about telling someone that their work was good or bad; it’s about making sure that person understands what she did well so she can repeat it, and why something didn’t work so that she doesn’t make the same mistake again.
A relational leader needs to be an effective manager, communicator, and relationship builder. These five mistakes are particularly toxic in the relational organization. A relational leader needs to be able to relate to the culture and find the best ways for them to thrive, seek feedback, leverage technology and use it only when appropriate.
This is not an exhaustive list. Every team is different, as are the multiple challenges that they may come across. Whether you’re a new manager, an executive, or something in between, you’ve probably had to deal with relational problems at one time or another. The tips listed above should help you avoid common relational pitfalls that plague leadership in most organizations. So take them to heart, use them to improve your management style, and lead your team forward into the future!
As mentioned above, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a boss is to be dismissive of management software and automation tools. As workplace and management tech goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tool like AllActivity. Because of its fresh approaches to teamwork and collaboration, AllActivity reflects the new ways of team management, communication, and productivity. It makes workflow management a lot easier and helps to boost productivity of everybody involved. Having all your teams’ information accessible is a huge bonus too as it allows you to see how they are performing and taking action as necessary. AllActivity’s valuable real-time insights makes it easy for you to build a better team and high-performing organization overall.
Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways we can help you increase your productivity, lifestyle & health by embracing automation:
- Claim your AllActivity Software Demo. Ask for a complete 2-month free trial and start achieving better results from the beginning!
- If you’d like to learn how automation and task mining can take your team or organization to the next level, go to our blog or visit our Task Mining section, where you can find our lifestyle calculator and find out how to be more efficient!
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