Building Personal Relationships

I have often heard people in formal leadership positions state that it is a mistake to get too close to your people and develop a personal relationship with them. I have a slightly different perspective. Now let me be clear. I am not advocating that your employees should be your drinking buddies! I'm not saying taking your people out for tequila shots is an appropriate team-building exercise! However, I do believe strongly that in order to get the best from people, it is important to understand who they are, how they are wired, and what makes them tick. This requires taking the time and effort to build a personal connection.

People are often amazed at the low level of attrition my teams have had over the years. In truth, virtually the only people who have ever separated from my organization are people who we decided to separate. It is a rare occurrence for team members to come into my office to tell me that they are leaving the team. I am very proud of that fact. The main reason why our retention rate has been so high is because we have taken the time to build personal relationships with the members of the team. Let me explain.

Many people feel that employees either take a new job or leave their old job because of compensation. Indeed, there are times when this is the case. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the times when I have lost good people because of money-related issues. Now keep in mind that for much of my career, I have led teams ...

Get Lessons in IT Transformation: Technology Expert to Business Leader now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.