Leadership involves influencing people to cooperate through positive relationships to achieve a meaningful goal together. If you are going to leave a legacy or anything of significance, you need people. Lao Tzu said it best, “When the best leader’s work is done the people say, we did it ourselves!”
Great leaders throughout history have always left a mark because of the relationship with the people they led. Winning with people is doing a lot of little things consistently. Leaders need to take more time to become better acquainted with others and their needs. Leaders take a moment and reflect upon the people they lead and serve.
Leadership expert John Maxwell claims that, “people can usually trace their successes and failures to the relationships in their lives.”
Leadership in the 21st century is about winning the people equation. Throw your title out the door. People want leaders who are interested in building positive relationships. They want people who care for them and that they can trust them.
Winning with people takes a lot of work and a lot of heart. People are unimpressed with leaders that just sit behinds their desks, delegate all the work and just observe.
Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends & Influence People
Here are four ways you can win with people
Become genuinely interested in other people
People usually respond better when they feel someone is interested in them first. No matter how much education or experience you have, it’s the connections you make on their level that brings people close to you.
You have to really make a simple gesture to become interested and ask questions that can open up a conversation.
Be a good listener
People want to be heard and understood. The way to become a better leader is to practice “active listening.” This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand their emotions and feelings.
Make the other person feel important
This is not about boosting someone’s ego. It’s just something that all leaders do. They make people feel important by treating them as their best friend. They want to connect on an emotional level that spark joy and fun together.
The only way to do so is to really show through genuine gesture that the other person is important to us. They mean a lot to us.
What does it take?
Wining with people takes time and patience. It’s a well worthwhile investment but takes a lot of hard work to accomplish. You have to make daily emotional deposits. Invest in your relationships, empower the people you are with. Show them you are willing to do things right.
All leadership successes comes from authentic relationships and we must continue to work on relationships that need our attention.
Our people skills will determine how far we can reach our potential because we can’t do it alone. Leadership is a team sport!