Technical vs. relational leadership style

February 2, 2017|

Successful leader

Part of being a great leader is being able to relate to others. Have you ever had a manager who was excellent at his or her job but couldn’t handle people correctly?

Those managers could perform their daily job duties but probably had issues in the way they spoke to their team and understood the different personalities of the people they worked with.

Many people in leadership roles battle this. Their job performance has led them to get promoted into a higher role, but they never learned how to relate to people along the way.

I want you to try an exercise. I saw this in a leadership training with executive trainer Nancy Reese and fell in love with it. Take a moment and try this on your own or with your team at your next meeting.

  1. Get a sheet of paper and write “Relational” on one side and “Technical” on the other.
  2. Think about the best managers or leaders you’ve encountered and think about the top five characteristics or skills you loved about them.
  3. List those five characteristics either under Relational or Technical.

Once you are done, which side has more characteristics listed under it? Usually you’ll find that your best managers or leaders have more relational characteristics than technical. Relational characteristics including good communication, being kind and understanding and going to bat for the team outweigh the technical, such as conducting a good meeting or being able to fix a computer program.

The lesson is that the technical is necessary, but great leaders understand the importance of relating to people and know how to do it. It really leaves an impact.

I challenge you to work on relating to your teams if this is an area in which you need improvement. One crucial point: Make sure it’s genuine. People can tell if you’re doing something out of obligation or because it’s truly meaningful to you. By effectively relating to people, you and your team can work together to accomplish strategic goals and be successful.

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