Helping Leaders Achieve Greater Influence, Higher Engagement & Increased Results

Building Strong Relationships

relationshipsBuilding strong relationships is a vitally important part of any success strategy.

Knowing how to get along with others and have them like you is even more important as a leader. Of course, this is not new, Dale Carnegie made a lot of money from his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. So, if you are serious about developing this skill as a leader, one of the first things you need to do is develop an interest in people and be curious about them.
One the most powerful ways to start is to genuinely show interest in others. Ask questions about them and then listen carefully,  at all times suppress the urge to talk about yourself as that will kill it dead unless of course eventually you are asked.
Henry Ford once said “A bore is a person who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it”.

Listening is not the same as hearing, it takes real focus and concentration. Listening can be considered to have different levels of intensity or quality, for example: Low Quality, Average Quality, High Quality, (you can read more about listening skills in a separate article). Generally we tend to listen at a Low Quality level when not giving it any special attention, which is not beneficial to building relationships, so I suggest you learn and practice to be a great listener if you want to have great relationships. Also, in order to build a strong relationship with someone it will help if we can get into a state of Rapport.
Something magical happens between two brains when they meet. Our brain has an “open limbic system”. This means that two brains have an affect on each other at an unconscious level.
When you are in  Rapport it’s like the two brains are in sync. When in Rapport you will both like each other and feel good, you will both be open to influence each other. A lot of the factors that affect how people get into rapport are non-verbal.(EG, posture, gestures, facial expressions, voice tone, pitch and pace.)
When people fall into Rapport naturally, (which often is happens,), these elements tend to be aligned to some degree. But it is also possible to learn how to use these elements in a sincere and genuine way to move a relationship into rapport. Matching of mirroring the other person’s posture gestures will help, but a word of caution, this needs to be done slowly and with finesse otherwise it will look comical and copycat and will actually decrease report. (You can see more about this in a separate article on “how to get into rapport”).

Another key strategy in building strong relationships is producing positive feelings in others. This may sound a bit weird but is vitally important to know what impact you are having on others. The next time you walk into a room, take a look around, notice people’s faces before, during and after you make eye contact with them. You are looking for a genuine smile that lingers after they look away, not a nervous half smile that drops immediately. Whether we like it or not we all carry a mood or state with us at all times and due to the open limbic system we transmit that mood to others even when we are not aware of it. Unbeknown to most people we have total control over our mood and state, but most of us operate on the false assumption that others create our moods. One of the best ways to produce positive feelings in others is to be positive yourself, get yourself into a bright positive state and smile (genuinely) and you’ll be amazed how quickly this transmits to others and how they will gravitate towards you as a leader.

By Peter Green

Peter is a speaker, workshop facilitator and author. Founder of Limbic Leadership, helping front line leaders harness the brain for massive influence, higher engagement and exceptional results from their teams. Leadership Development Grounded in Neuroscience!

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