"Leadership is Tunnel Vision, Focused on Relationships"
Relationships may be the single most important focal point of leadership. One's leadership and ability to influence is directly linked to ones ability to forge and maintain positive working relationships. While I believe it is important to have a big-picture view of any project or task, if you must become blinded by tunnel vision, allow yourself to be blinded by the quality of relationships you have with your team.
Why Allow Tunnel Vision at All?
Sometimes we as leaders can be so overwhelmed by the inter-woven complexities of projects and deadlines that we can easily overlook individual relationships with our team. Sometimes we allow ourselves to become so lost in the whole that we forget that the whole is just a cumulative gathering of a set of parts. The set of parts that I am referring to are the individuals in your organization or team. If we are not careful we can allow ourselves to neglect one of the most important aspects of leadership.
Why Are Relationships So Important?
Leadership is a lot of things, but one of the most important I believe is personal development. If we really value and care about our team, we must value their development. If we intend to develop our team, we must forge good standing relationships with them. This is a very forward and general statement that we can then delve deeper into. Of course strong relationships will help with meeting goals, deadlines, and open the door for positive delegation of authority in order to complete group tasks. Of course strong relationship means a deeper meaningful life even when working on very complex projects. What we are missing here is that strong relationships allow us to use our position to grow people beyond the current group goals. A leader who has strong relationships with his team influence and impact them in a way far beyond any short sighted task or project.
Should We Ignore Everything to Relate?
I think it would be silly if we discarded all goals and focused on just building relationships, however, if we temporarily were to stray from broad focus, I believe that this would be the reason to do just that. Allowing yourself tunnel vision to take time and relate means that you value your team enough that you are willing to put forth your best effort to build them up and strengthen them. I believe that this is just as good as money in the bank.
How is This Applied?
I believe this is applied slightly differently than it sounds. I believe a good interpretative example would be listening to a team member that needs to talk. So often team members just want to feel important, and this manifests as them requesting time from you to allow you to listen to a piece of their life. I urge you to take this time as a leader and look for ways to mentor. There is nothing more damaging here than disregarding a team members request for a piece of time.