leadership is relationship

Leadership is an ongoing relationship between the leader and his superiors, leaders and colleagues, leaders and consumers, and especially between leaders and followers. This intangible notion we call leadership most often refers to the interaction of leader and follower. This interaction should not be thought of in terms of us and them. Followers are allies who join the leader and together create the synergy that drives organizations forward. “Because personal relationship defines the existing quality of interpersonal interaction between the leader and potential followers, followers will not join the leader without the required relationship. Leadership is relationship. (Blank, 1995, p. 12).

Leaders require many skills in managing relationships. Not just with followers, but with all stakeholders, including superiors, peers, and external constituents. “Relationship behavior is the extent to which the leader engages in two-way or multi-way communication. It includes listening, encouraging, facilitating, providing clarification, and providing social-emotional support.” (Bolman and Deal, 1997: 300). The purpose of the relationship is to give each person the opportunity to grow and contribute to their full potential and build strengths in the midst of differences.

Blank, Warren. (nineteen ninety five). The 9 Natural Laws of Leadership. New York, New York: AMACOM Books.

Bolman, Lee G. & Deal, Terrence E. (1997). Reframing Organizations: Art, Choice and Leadership. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series.

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