Commentary 2 Sheila Ellerton

One of the Merriam Webster dictionary definitions of a "relationship" is a "State of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings". Hence it would follow that as a leader you are certain to have many different relationships.

In order to be a leader you need to have followers. This does not happen by accident or luck of the draw. You may have been appointed to a position of leadership but if you can't convince people to follow your lead, then you have no leadership. It reminds me of the age old adage "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" - leadership or relationship?

If you were appointed to a leadership position, then it is safe to assume you already have at least one relationship. You must have convinced someone that you have leadership qualities. So now you need to establish relationships with your followers. Each relationship is likely to be unique. There is no formula to follow so where do you start?

Start at the end! Now doesn't that sound like a conundrum?

Think about what you want to accomplish - your end result. Now work backwards. What is it going to take to bring about that end result? For example; one of the main aspects of a relationship is trust, so think about how you are going to establish that trust. You need your followers to have confidence in you, to believe that you know what you are talking about and that you keep your word and deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.

So as you go forth in your career, give some serious thought to your various relationships. Your leadership will benefit.