You are a leader who cares about your stakeholders, but do they know that? Your answer matters because when they know that you care, they will care about you, the work they do, and their team. Caring is a powerful way to deepen your relationships with others.
So, if you feel that you are distant from the people who are out there doing the work that keeps your business or organization humming, remember that the relationships you have with them are important. What are these simple daily opportunities that you can demonstrate every day to relate on a deeper level to those at work?
Listen more than you talk. Have you noticed that the word silent has the same letters in it as the word listen? And that requires you to stop talking as well as allow the silent pauses that will make space for others to gather their thoughts. People won’t forget feeling like they have been heard. Listening well is a great way to show others that you care.
Ask questions as you listen to show that you are trying to understand their point of view. These questions need to follow on to what they are saying (rather than take the conversation off track). Questions also demonstrate your interest in them and what they are saying. Your questions will also keep the conversation going so that you can go deeper in your understanding.
Seek to understand them. This requires a level of your presence that is beyond what most of us do. When you ask questions that seek to understand while staying present in the conversation, you will deepen your relationship with that person through a depth of understanding (you “get them”) in a way that you haven’t before.
Demonstrate that you care about them. In practical ways, this might mean that you allow yourself to be vulnerable and take risks in the relationship to get personal. Ask them about their family, or how their weekend went. And then listen some more. Follow up later with the things you heard, showing them that you care enough to remember some things about them.
Support them when they are down on their luck, when things don’t go just right, and even when they do. People want to feel noticed and supported by you, and that requires you to be on alert for the times when you can reach out to them. Even when emotions are high, let people know that you are there for them.
Look for these five moments when you can deepen the relationships you have with your stakeholders. You can’t go wrong by stepping into them to have conversations that matter to people. Your ability to lead others will deepen and become richer too.
More From Mary Jo Asmus
Mary Jo Asmus is an executive/leadership coach whose work spans decades of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of executives, leaders and teams in Fortune 500, mid- and small-sized business, governments and nonprofits. She focuses on facilitating individuals and teams from first-line supervisor to the C-suite to create, develop, and influence the relationships that can make them extraordinary.