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Leaders have the unique ability to promote or plummet their employees’ well-being. 

This is a bold statement to make. Maybe it makes you uncomfortable to think that the people you lead daily rely on you to support their personal and professional growth. On the other hand, perhaps you are not entirely convinced that your employer holds such a prominent influence on you.

In a 2018 survey, 75 percent of participants said that the most stressful aspect of their job was their immediate boss. And that was before a global pandemic.

Workplace relationships are the most defining aspect of team morale, productivity, and ultimately job satisfaction. In turn, job satisfaction is second only to mental health when determining an employee’s wellbeing. Unfortunately, the majority of employees will report that their relationship with their immediate management is less than ideal. Thus, they find themselves unhappy with their jobs, resulting in an overall feeling of life dissatisfaction.

Meaningful relationships need to be the heart of business leaders. Servant-leaders build relationships with their employees founded on empathy and compassion. Leaders who create a safe, trusting environment tell their employees that their voice matters and their best interest is in mind. Confident employees allow for a collaborative workspace, lower turnover rates, and improved customer loyalty. Focusing on employee-management relationships can actually improve your business’s profitability.

Learning to embrace heart-centered leadership is a powerful motivator for employees because they follow you from a place of respect and authenticity. You are showing your commitment to personal and professional growth when you focus on the lives of your associates and serve the people you lead.

Beyond this, the pandemic has produced an entirely new way to engage in relationships, especially those completely transformed to a screen. The isolation of the pandemic has left individuals feeling less capable of intimate relationships and unsure of how to arise from a social-distanced world.  And now as leaders are re-engaging in-person and balancing the professional and personal needs of their teams, it is awkward.  We are out of practice. 

Here are five ways to nourish those meaningful relationships: 

  1. You know your impact and are mindful of how your words and actions may be interpreted in formal and informal ways. Your actions and reactions have implications to the person’s life but also for the organization’s bottom line.
  2. You are empathetic and strive to maintain the self-esteem of others.
  3. You take care of you – your “whole-self”– physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  4. You believe that people have positive intentions, even if behavior appears to illustrate the opposite.
  5. You develop strategies that involve, promote, call upon, and inspire associates to participate fully in creating, renewing, or revitalizing the organization.

Leaders have a duty more than ever to focus on the immediate relationships with their employees to maintain meaningful alignment and lead their organizations and their people to success. 



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