We cannot put too much stock in the value of our relationships.
It has been said many times in many ways… “Show me your five closest friends today and I will show you your tomorrow.”
Those that are closest to us have so much influence and affect on who we are becoming and where we are going.
It has also been said that it is lonely at the top. While this is true in a buck-stops-here kind of way, it doesn’t have to be true in general. In fact, it shouldn’t be true. Leaders need relationships. Leaders need others. Humans are designed for interaction and relationship. God created us that way because it is the reason He created us to begin with. He wanted relationship, so He created us for that purpose.
It is very easy as a leader to avoid relationships because it seems easier, more clean. When there is no real relationship, there isn’t emotional considerations when decisions, especially tough decisions, need to be made. So, it seems easier to stay removed.
In the long run, this approach isn’t healthy. This will leave the leader lonely, filled with regret, and not respected.
However, a leader that builds relationships with find fulfillment, purpose, and earn respect. Of course, there are challenges to all relationships, that is part of the human condition. Those challenges are worth it overall compared to all the benefits that real relationships with others bring.
There are three types of relationships that anyone in any form of leadership needs:
Most people understand that they have had multiple people teach them so much and show them the way. Many would be able to point out one in particular that really had an impact. The need for this type of relationship in our life never actually ends. It’s not just for school or early in career. It is needed every step of the way. The person filling the role will likely change, maybe many times, but the role should continually exist within the life of a leader.
Of course, we need friends. Not just friends, good friends. Those that know our quirks and spend time with us anyway. Those who can call us out when necessary and build us up when we need it. Those that we do the same for. This is a critical relationship in the life of the leader. Someone(s) that there are no pretenses with, no authority to work out, no issues, just two people who respect and care for each other that are walking out life together in one way or another.
If we aren’t passing along what we know, what good is it? We each have much to offer. It is our responsibility to pass along what we know and raise up the next generation who will take our place.
It takes intentionality to make these three relationships productive and effective in our lives, and it is worth it.