By Michael Holland – 

We all can get caught up in our self-perception regarding how important we are in our leadership roles, as well as the effectiveness we enable within our organization as fairly decent leaders.

Leadership effectiveness is dependent upon your capability to leverage relationships to achieve goals.  The depth and breadth of these professional relationships depend heavily on the level of activity you invest in them.

I find many leaders limit their investment in building and sustaining the quality of professional relationships within their current organization and, as importantly, outside their organization.

They are with colleagues in meetings all the time, but there is little investment in building the quality of those relationships.

Take 15 minutes to fire yourself and review your relationships in these ways.

Fire Yourself

Quickly, hand write a 2 sentence memo firing yourself.  Take on the full emotion and weight of this event then stand up, walk away from your desk and then sit back down.

The “20” List

Make a list of the 20 people you would contact to let them know about your transition.

Make note of when was the last time you had real contact with each of these 20 people, with contact defined as meeting for lunch, dinner, coffee or a phone conversation. (also see Your Inner Circle: Catalyst or Anchor)

The Thumbs Up List

Make a list of who within your current organization could – and would – provide a recommendation on your leadership capability.

How might they describe your leadership behavior?  Your impact on the organization?

The length and breadth of your list will reveal much.  Does you list contain subordinates, peers from other business functions, leaders above you, diversity among the leaders?

Red Carpet Moment

Assess your LinkedIn profile. How many contacts do you maintain?  How up-to-date is your profile?

This digital persona of your professional experience provides a glimpse into how you perceive yourself.  Are you proud of the work you’ve accomplished?

What do the quantity and quality of your contacts tell you?  When did you last connect with 10 of the contacts?

The paradigm exploration you should seek is to inventory your relationships, taking note of whom you should be investing time with to make sure you’re in tune with their professional and personal lives.

It’s likely that the converse will be true and they will be in tune with your life.  Now, imagine if you had their real-time perspective/advice/input on your leadership challenges.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Ask yourself:  Am I willing to commit to meet with one person a week over the next 20 weeks to increase the depth and breadth of my relationships and gain perspective on the growth of my leadership capability?
  • Take the 15 minutes to fire yourself, using the steps outlined above. What is the result?
  • Having trouble firing yourself?  Ask a colleague – or your boss – to help out.