Leadership and Relationships – Can You Have One Without the Other?

10 Tips for Growing your Leadership

Do you believe you can separate leadership and relationships?

I spent several months studying the attributes of healthy relationships in the Bible, specifically Romans 12. Reading, reflecting, and analyzing the Scripture’s intentions and goals. There are so many great life lessons in these verses.  Great learnings for being a better leader.

What I learned shouldn’t surprise you. We are not able to separate leadership and relationships. If you try to separate the two, you will live a life of emptiness. We were created for relationships. We were created to learn from one another, help one another and walk along side of one another.

Healthy Relationships Take Work

Work hard to establish healthy relationships.  Relationships that do not fall apart at the first sign of conflict but rather, work through the conflict and become stronger because of it. Those who work hard to create and maintain healthy relationships will elevate their ability to lead.

I have spent countless hours with people in leadership who openly share their emptiness. These managers keep their heads down and do not invest in others inside or outside of work. They avoid connecting with people because relationships can be messy and time consuming.  However, in the end, people who make their job their #1 priority will come up short.

Leaders who choose this path are not excluded from climbing the corporate ladder.  In fact, many of the people who have confided in me are executives who appear very successful on the surface.  However, because we are created for relationships, eventually you can’t help but notice the emptiness inside, despite external appearances.

Small office with business people in Barcelona.

Hope For a New Future

In addition to hearing from discouraged executives, I’ve also had the great fortune of celebrating with leaders who have come face-to-face with this emptiness and decided to change. They changed their paradigm on who and what is important to them. They changed who and what they were giving attention. They changed who and what they invested in.

They tell me, “Mike, I was overworking myself and those around me. I was empty inside and my peers saw me as a machine.” Leaders who recognize this and take the pains to change are worth celebrating.

10 Tips for Growing your Leadership

I don’t want you to have to reach that low before you understand the value of investing in people.  Living a meaningful life as a leader requires that you cultivate relationships.  For this reason, I want to share 10 tips for growing your leadership through healthy relationships.  My prayer in writing this is that these will impact your approach to relationships in every aspect of your professional and personal life.

These reflections include insights, perspectives and text from Romans 12:9-21 and “The Maxwell Leadership Bible.”

  1. Avoid hypocrisy – be sincere and genuine (v.9)
  2. Be loyal to colleagues – treat and respect others like brothers and sisters (v.10)
  3. Give preference to others – honor the desires and interest of others above your own (v.10)
  4. Be hospitable – look for ways to meet the needs of others (v.13)
  5. Return good for evil – act, don’t react, when others hurt and affect you in a negative way (v.14)
  6. Identify with others – treat others’ needs or others’ victories in a sincere way–as if they are your own (v.15)
  7. Be open-minded toward others – seek to connect to those you speak to (v.16)
  8. Treat everyone with respect – seek ways to compliment any person you interact with (v.17)
  9. Do everything possible to keep peace – choose wisely which hills to die on (v.18)
  10. Remove revenge in your life – let God judge others, you love them (vv.19-21)

So many times we are all so busy that we miss opportunities to live a life worth living. This process is a lifelong journey – one that I am on. I have learned as I work hard in building healthy relationships that my effort makes a difference. It changes lives. It establishes deeper relationships. It builds greater trust and creates stronger relationships.

Thankfully we cannot separate leadership and relationships– at least not if we want a life that’s worth living.

Another excellent resource for this topic is a sermon from Pastor Brad Bigney entitled “Loving from the Inside Out”

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  • Kristen Lovett

    Hello Mike,
    Thank you for both an enlightening and spiritual read. We reached out to each other through Linked In earlier this summer. I plan to contact you in the near future for professional opportunities, and also to have a discussion about leadership in current day.

    Warm regards
    Kristen Lovett