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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Nicholas

Elevating Executive Leadership

Elevating Executive Leadership: The Power of Building Meaningful Professional Relationships

As a certified Stakeholder Centered Coach and a former executive for two decades, I’ve observed a crucial element of effective executive leadership that often gets overshadowed by technical competence is the ability to build authentic, lasting relationships. In my work, I've had the privilege of working with professionals across various industries and witnessing firsthand how enhancing relationship-building skills leads to powerful results.

One of my clients recently faced a situation that many of us can relate to. Seen as competent and proficient, there was something missing—the human touch. Feedback emphasized the need to connect with stakeholders on a deeper level.

The challenge was to build upon the credibility he already enjoyed by developing a warmer, more personable reputation as an executive. We began by discussing common aspects of making that connection:

Empathy as a Cornerstone: Leadership is not just about leading projects and teams; it's about leading people. Leaders who practice empathy create an environment of trust and collaboration.

Active Listening: It's not enough to hear; leaders need to actively listen. When people feel heard, they are more likely to open up and share their concerns and ideas, which fosters a sense of inclusion and respect.

Authenticity Wins Hearts: Authenticity is magnetic. Leaders who are genuine, who show their true selves, are more relatable and inspire trust.

Investing in Time: Building relationships requires an investment of time and effort. Leaders need to be present, make time for one-on-one interactions, and show that they value the people they work with.

Recognize Diversity: Every person is unique, and effective leaders understand and respect this diversity. They adapt their communication style and approach to cater to the individual needs and preferences of their colleagues.

Soon a brilliant idea emerged – personal note-writing to celebrate employees’ achievements, work anniversaries, promotions, etc. These handwritten notes commemorating an important milestone in employees’ careers convey a personal touch and demonstrate his dedication to forging strong ties. More important, being a big-hearted leader, he enjoys making these investments in people.

The response to this sincere gesture has been overwhelmingly positive, and his influence in the environment has expanded. His reputation as both a competent and compassionate leader, something he was already but simply needed to reveal to others, grows by the day. It’s a win for all involved.

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