Building A Strong Team Through Relatable Leadership

Building a strong team starts with building strong leader and employee relationships. Once your people feel like they truly know you and can trust you, then your team’s communication, performance, and culture will improve. How do you make that happen? Let’s talk.

Building A Strong Team Through Relatable Leadership

Strong leader and employee relationships are the foundation of your team’s success. In today’s world, the line between work and personal life is increasingly blurred. Don’t misunderstand me, though. I’m not saying you should be building intimate relationships with your people, but what I am saying is that many employees in today’s workforce want to know the real you before they’ll give you their trust, their loyalty, and even their best performance. 

Building authentic relationships starts with you, the leader. Be careful though — don’t run out of your office right now and start spilling your innermost secrets to your newest employees in hopes for their immediate buy-in.  Before you initiate deeper leader / employee relationships, you have to be sure you first know yourself really well. If you don’t truly understand who you are and why, how could you expect anyone else to?

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Develop a Realistic Self Understanding

Have you taken time to really get to know who you’ve become at this point in your career, your life? Are you different than you were five years ago, ten years ago? How? Why? Are you more future-focused or slowly getting stuck in the past? 

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and end up spending little to no time reflecting on who we’re becoming…whether the result is intentional or unintentional.

Understanding yourself will help you help others understand how to work best with and for you.

DiSC, Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Color personality tests, etc. are just a few of the tests being used by many companies to help improve job placement, communication, teamwork, etc. One of the most recent tests to come out that is similar to the previously mentioned options, is the Enneagram test. You can take the free test HERE. Regardless of your preference of test, these are great tools to help you understand who you are, how you process information, how other people may perceive you, etc. I encourage you to take a test so that you can start gaining a realistic understanding of yourself.

Once you have that understanding in place, it’s time to go a step deeper!


Discover the Why

Simply realizing who you are today and communicating that in a way that creates a mutual understanding of your preferences is good. However, it won’t really help you build anything more than an understanding. You need to build a relationship, not just an understanding.

Once you’ve hit the nail on the head with understanding who you are today, it’s time to peel back the layers and ask yourself, “How did I get here?”

Understanding why you like to work alone, why you are a people pleaser, why you are uncomfortable with change, why you’re blunt, [insert your characteristic here], will help you connect the dots. It’s in the place where you understand why you are the way you are, that you can make a hard decision about whether you want to change or embrace who you’ve become.

Maybe you realize you’re actually not a really great team player because you learned to be really independent growing up. Maybe you decide to change that now?

It’s possible that you always shoot people really straight…to the point of brutal honesty oftentimes. Did you learn to be that way because other leaders in your life did not tell you the truth when they should have? Maybe it’s time to adapt your communication style?

When I did the work to understand exactly why I had become the way I was, I really gained the ability to intentionally choose who I wanted to be going forward versus just accepting my default. Then and there is where I really gained control of my future success. You can do the same!


Share Stories With Your People

Here’s where the leader / employee relationships are initiated. You’ve developed a clear understanding of who you are and why. I want you to think about the why. What personal stories about your experiences would you be willing to share with your employees to help them truly understand you…who you are and the leader you want to be for them?

This part may not be easy at all for you. You may be someone who does not enjoy opening up to people, or you may have stories that are hard for you to tell. Either way, when the time is right, I encourage you to share your story regardless of your fear.

When you share stories with people, you create bonds in a way that nothing else can. It’s like you open up a part of your soul and give it away. A little piece of wisdom, insight, or just your heart it all it takes to break down walls and build a solid foundation for your team. When you tell personal stories to your people, you become a relatable leader. Your people will see your authenticity, they will feel your good intention, and they will learn about and from you.

There is power in the stories you have within you. Share them with your team. Start building a real relationship with them, start building trust, start increasing performance, start building a strong team!


Building A Strong Team Starts With You

Now it’s your turn. 3 steps: 

  1. Get to know who you are
  2. Understand why you are the way you are
  3. Share stories with your people

Building a strong team takes a bold leader. Put in the work today to lead your people to a future you all are dreaming of!


Need a training plan for building a strong team? I can help! Let’s talk!

#leadershipdevelopment #connectthroughstories #learningfromeachother #leaderswhoteach #leaderemployeerelationships #employeerelations #strongteam #buildingateam #teamwork

Alyson Van Hooser

Alyson Van Hooser, Pres & CEO, Van Hooser Leadership. With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn.


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