“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Strong relationships begin with respect, and respect is about valuing people. This does not mean placing value on what they can do for us, or what we can get out of them, but truly valuing them as people.
On a scale of 1 to 10, we should treat every person as a 10. This is not as easy as it sounds. My observation, having worked as a leadership trainer for decades and in many different organizations, is that the number one issue leaders face is the inability of people to get along. Getting a team of individuals to work together is their biggest challenge.
These are adults in professional organizations, and yet I often have to teach this principle of simply “getting along”.
Why is this?
The fact is, relationships are complicated because each person is a unique blend of personality, skills, natural talent, and life experience. It is what makes relationships interesting. It is also what makes them challenging.
Relationships mold and shape us and others if we will embrace the opportunities to learn more about ourselves and others along the way. Don’t avoid relationships because they are hard; embrace them because you can grow. Everything that is hard is worth doing…it is where we grow the most.
John Maxwell teaches in his book Winning With People the Lens Principle: Who we are determines how we see others.
If you are a trusting person, you will see others as trustworthy and are more likely to trust them in the relationship. Conversely, if you are a critical person, you are likely to see others as critical. You will likely criticize the people around you, putting distance between you and others.
As leaders, we must guide our teams into developing relationships based on respect for one another. This is about mapping team strengths, teaching team members how to communicate respectfully with those who are different from them, and developing an environment of trust.
And it is about being the kind of leader your team can respect – strong, yet caring; decisive, yet flexible; idea-driven, yet open to new ideas.
If you have a team that “can’t get along”, look first at your leadership. What kind of message are you portraying to your team? Then look to develop a team where members respect each other.
Do you struggle with getting along with others?
If the answer is yes, are you blaming them, or are you looking at yourself as a leader and learning to grow through the struggles?
Who is someone along your journey you admired as a leader? How can you learn to emulate the things they did in their relationships?
I learned from Zig Ziglar, somewhere along my journey, this principle:
“If you help enough other people get more of what they want, you will get a whole lot more of what you want.” This is the essence of relationships and getting along with people. And people are the key to your success as a leader.