Leadership Or Manipulation?
If We Are Developing Relationships For The Express Purpose Of Influencing Others, Is That Leadership Or Manipulation?
I started to write a post on developing relationships, and the connection between my thoughts on what Leadership is and is not, and how and why we develop relationships burst into my mind.
I have come to believe that we, people, can only consistently act like great Leaders if we have developed “Leadership qualities”. That is to say Leadership is not a list of behaviors or actions… it is rather how we see ourselves and the world, and this understanding, this way of being, determines the actions and behaviors by which we define Leadership.
So… we can learn the ‘skills’ needed to develop relationships. We can learn how to talk to our team members, get to know them, and do what we can to help them achieve their goals. We can try to share something of ourselves in order to build a level of trust or openness between us, and through this we will probably achieve some level of influence over these people.
And unless we are doing it because we actually care about those people; because we sincerely want to know them and help them; and we care less about the outcome than we do about the relationship, then I would call that manipulation.
I have witnessed an amazing amount of this kind of behavior. I have been manipulating end when I was younger and didn’t know any better, and on the receiving end working for people who were acting out of fear rather than caring.
In my experience this behavior can achieve some results, and only for a limited amount of time.
If we don’t truly care about the people around us we will not be able to carry on investing in them when things go sideways and the pressure is on.
If we care more about the outcome than we do about the people we will eventually have to toss aside those we don’t believe are moving us towards our own goals quickly enough.
If we don’t believe that the world is a safe place, and we are acting out of fear, we will not be able to extend trust for very long, and our need to be in control will take over.
Building relationships can give us influence, and only if we are building those relationships for the right reasons. If you are not getting the results you want; find your team members do not really trust you; or you just don’t really get the whole ‘relationship’ thing… you might think about your motivation for trying to build those relationships in the first place.