Listen to the 30-minute show here, and read on for a summary by leadership coach Marie Peeler.
Some women simply want the joy of working in an environment of respect and collaboration. Others desire a formal leadership track and recognize that building relationships is necessary in order to cultivate greater support and influence.
But building relationships is a complex business, and the “ways of being” that we might most intuitively adopt may not actually serve us in our quest for respect, influence and supportive relationships.
Intuitively, many women attempt to build relationships by attempting to “please” others. They erroneously assume that pursuing harmony above all else will keep them safe. In reality, over time, such behavior will actually erode relationships.
Instead there are key skills and behaviors that women can cultivate and practice to build real relationships and genuine influence:
Establish connections with others. To connect with others, women should demonstrate empathy, make a sincere effort to understand the needs of others, and show a genuine interest in other people’s ideas and contributions. Being cognizant of our impact on others and understanding how we are affected by others are also very important in establishing meaningful connections with our coworkers.
Speak with authenticity. Sometimes it is hard to show up authentically – speak your truth, instead of saying what you believe people want to hear – but co-workers will be much more willing to listen if you are known for treating other people well and understanding their needs. The idea is to show up, be authentic and bring value to your work, your team and your organization while leaving space for others to step up authentically as well.
Maintain a results focus. Just as people want to follow other people that “get them” – that’s the connection piece – they also want to follow people who make things happen and get things done. There is something intoxicating about aligning yourself with a strong woman who knows how to move mountains. What better way to expand your influence than by showing people that you are decisive, have a vision and are focused on moving forward to attain your goals?
Work sustainably. While it’s important to focus on results, avoid working in a frantic, or unrelenting, way that simply is not sustainable. Rather than feeling motivated by your focus, others may feel overwhelmed or turned off by the frenzied wake that you leave. Working in a steady, balanced and sustainable way will help you maintain your composure, achieve your goals and build relationships.
Marie Peeler is a principal of Peeler Associates, a Massachusetts-based leadership development company that helps leaders clarify objectives, find engagement, improve interpersonal effectiveness, and attain their goals through services that include executive coaching, team development, custom workshops and seminars, leadership assessment, business retreats, and keynote, conference and meeting presentations. Marie can be reached at [email protected]