Without trust, there is no leadership. Trust translates directly into loyalty, candor, and high performance among your employees and colleagues. Aside from all that, when everything else goes wrong, it's relationships that save your bacon.
It was my relationship skills that saved me during that freight-rating debacle that I've come back to several times now. After botching the politics while delivering the “worst idea ever,” I ended up with a promotion. Later, I found out why the senior executive who called me out had a complete change of heart. A hub who I had gotten close to within the transportation division had been quietly and effectively advocating to him on my behalf. The hub convinced the executive that my suggestion was solid, and he vouched for my character and future potential, too. The hub would never have stepped up the way that he did, or have been able to speak to who I was, without the strong relationship that I had built with him. Above all, he trusted that I would do right by the organization and the people I became responsible for.
The fact is, when you get the politics or the priorities wrong, the “people” part of the triad can often save you—if you've gone out of your way to give them reasons to do so. (Note: If you get both the priorities and the politics wrong, you're probably sunk. So don't do that.)
Trust is often more important than any practical skill you might offer. When my boss in the transportation ...