Have you ever thought about the words we use to describe relationships? Our entire paradigm for how we relate to one another is economic. We ‘spend’ time with family. We ‘invest’ training and resources in employees. When we feel neglected by our spouse we tell them they don’t ‘value’ us nearly enough. I’ll get that promotion when my boss recognizes how much I ‘contribute’ to the team.
Seth Godin has said that leadership, at it’s core, is marketing and marketing is leadership. As leaders we’re selling a vision, an idea, a method, a system. We market our influence and hope someone will ‘buy in’. This economic model for relationships affects our approach to leadership at every level. It’s transactional in nature. Quid pro quo. I’ll follow you if I get something in return. You’ll follow me when you realize my idea has more than merit, it has value that will benefit you personally. They say all politics is local. Well, all leadership is transactional and everyone’s looking for an ROI (return on investment) that far exceeds the risk they take when they believe in you.
What would happen if we changed the language of leadership? What if we stopped using the words of Wall Street to describe how a leader relates to others? Transactional Leadership relies heavily on 4 words that have more to do with economics than leadership. What if we replaced these 4 words with new words, better words? Words designed to inspire, empower and engage people.
- Value vs. Respect
- Invest vs. Serve
- Buy-in vs. Trust
- Contribute vs. Collaborate
These aren’t simply 4 contrasting ideas. They are a progressive pattern for how ‘Relational Leadership’ works. They are guiding principles that build one on top of the other.
Over the next several weeks we’re going to explore the differences between Transactional Leadership and Relational Leadership. We’ll discover how these four guiding principles leverage the power of influence, magnify the effectiveness of a team and create a vibrant culture where individual and corporate potential explodes with exponential growth.
It’s going to be a great series. As we get ready to dive in I have some questions for you.
- What’s been your experience with ‘Transactional Leadership’? Was it positive or negative?
- Do you think it’s possible to describe our relationships without using words that are economic in nature?