5 Relationship Blockers for Leaders

It can be so frustrating to be technically competent on a team and yet not be able to cultivate strong relationships with our co-workers or bosses. It’s not that we don’t like the people we work with; it’s more that we find it difficult to share ideas with them. Other team members seem to easily connect over lunch or during meetings but those interactions don’t come naturally to us. Why do we find it challenging to form relationships with the very people we see each day? How can we create more meaningful relationships in our work world to feel that we belong? What is preventing us from connecting with our teammates and bosses?

Five Relationship Blockers For Leaders

1. Unapproachable

We may not even be aware we are doing it, but sometimes we send out the signal that we don’t want others to bother us. We do this by working in a silo on projects, rather than reaching out to others for advice or input. Of course there are some responsibilities we need perform individually. However, we need to make an effort to share our progress and issues we face with our team members. That connection is critical to building relationships. If a team member asks us for ideas to resolve a problem we need to make the time to work with them too. To build relationships in our workplaces leaders need to be approachable.

2. Unconvincing Communication

Communication is the oil to keep our teams and organizations going. It is also the foundation of meaningful relationships. We owe it to ourselves and to our team members to become as strong a communicator as possible. Impactful communication involves:
  • Using clear, open and direct messages.
  • Being respectful of the other person’s point of view.
  • Listening to really hear what our co-workers and bosses are saying.
  • Making sure our body language and face shows we are in the moment.
  • 3. Not Trustworthy

    The foundation of any relationship is trust and that begins with learning more about one another- learning what makes each person tick. What brings them joy? What is challenging? Spending time with our colleagues goes a far way to developing rapport and trust. Before a meeting chat a team member up about what they are doing after work. Set up lunches or coffees to get to know what they are all about in and out of work.Related: Confidence Is Everything in Leadership

    4. Low EI

    There is no greater block to building a relationship than by not being self-aware of our own emotions and keying into the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is critical to a leader’s ability to connect with others in a deep way. According to EI guru Daniel Goleman, relationship management is critical for outstanding leadership. Ask yourself these questions. Are you aware when:
  • You feel upset or anxious?
  • Your co-worker is in need of your support?
  • You act inappropriately and say hurtful words?
  • You act boastful or braggy?
  • Having a high level of EI helps leaders cultivate relationships that endure.

    5. Have A “Go It Alone” Attitude

    Ultimately leaders must recognize that they will be more influential if they foster collaboration with team members and colleagues. When we value the individual contributions of others and integrate them into an end result the impact will be far greater than working alone. Synergy of different talents and strengths always pays off in dividends. So dump the attitude that working alone is quicker or more effective. What additional relationship blockers have you experienced or seen?