For whatever reason it’s common for leaders within companies to primarily congregate with one another. You know, like in high school where the popular kids hang out together. Or is it a networking sort of thing where people in managerial roles only hang with those they feel can benefit their upward mobility? Maybe they feel the troops are beneath them or have forgotten where they came from. You know, where they begin reading their own headlines and can no longer relate to those, they (in their minds) have left behind.
Whenever we look at people who are most successful in business, especially in the sales arena, they are the people who are best at forging relationships. And one of the best ways to forge a relationship is by relate-ability. Relate-ability is how you connect with people and win them over, thereby asking them about themselves. And the more diverse your interests, the higher the probability of relate-ability. The fastest way to turn people off is to have an inauthentic way about you. Show up as your real self. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Of course, being true to yourself and taking the initiative to relate won’t always be received with open arms. There are those who are suspicious of the intent behind such openness. That would be their insecurity, not yours. My recommendation is to push forward and continue being true to yourself. Be someone who can independently stand outside of cliques. Think about it, if you are a leader and spend all your time with a “bubble set” of individuals who are for lack of a better way of putting it, “group thinkers,” then how can you expect to relate to those you represent?
Stay open and accessible to anyone and everyone within and without your organization. The ability to observe your surroundings without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence. It also gives you the ability to relate without judgment. You never know who you are dealing with. Have you ever noticed how someone’s demeanor will shift whenever they feel they are dealing with someone of importance, or they feel can affect them? The key is to find a point of relate-ability and stay true to yourself.