Why Great Leaders Focus On Mastering Relationships

Great leaders are distinguished by their ability to master personal relationships.

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Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy

Digitalization and other critical factors are transforming what it means to be a great leader in a new environment. Discover the cultural and strategic shifts organizations must embrace to prepare their leaders to succeed.

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“Without mastering collaborative relationships, both inside and outside the company, we won’t produce the outcomes needed to win our customers’ business.”

— Lori Beer, chief information officer, JPMorgan Chase

Mastering personal relationships that build trust and create a collaborative work environment is central to leadership effectiveness in the digital economy. This skill set distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones, based on my interviews with C-suite executives in companies around the world.

In a digital business environment, great leaders are those who appreciate and understand the power of technology and analytics. But that alone is insufficient. They must also have the skills and mindsets to bring together people from diverse businesses and functions to deliver superior customer outcomes. As Lori Beer, CIO at JPMorgan Chase, says:

“We don’t need everybody to know how to write the perfect API, but we do need people with a passion for working together to create an understanding of how those APIs, a blockchain, the cloud, AI, and machine learning can change the way you think about delivering services to our customers.”

Why Mastering Relationships Matters

Great leaders have always done three things exceptionally well:

  1. Inspire teams that continuously produce innovative, cost-effective products and services that generate superior outcomes for customers and shareholders.
  2. Create inclusive working environments that foster collaboration and employee growth and continuous development.
  3. Conduct business responsibly to benefit communities and society.

In an increasingly digital economy, today’s leaders need to address each of these leadership challenges with a renewed focus on relationship building.

Inspiring teams to produce differentiated outcomes. In the digital world, the idea of teams has both expanded and morphed dramatically. Many companies today operate in an ecosystem world, meaning that they might be a core platform in one environment and an ecosystem partner in another. As such, companies can be both “team members” and competitors with other companies. This dynamic requires not only sophisticated legal arrangements but also a significant dose of trust and relationship-building capability to operate effectively. Moreover, at the intracompany level, as Beer explains, business leaders and functional experts need to build relationships across silos to spot new opportunities and respond quickly to them.

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Topics

Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy

Digitalization and other critical factors are transforming what it means to be a great leader in a new environment. Discover the cultural and strategic shifts organizations must embrace to prepare their leaders to succeed.

IN COLLABORATION WITH

Cognizant
See All Articles in This Section

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Comments (4)
Rhys Gambling
I love the first sentence in this short paper, it sums everything up elegantly and concisely, "Mastering personal relationships that build trust and create a collaborative work environment is central to leadership effectiveness in the digital economy." The only thing I might add is that in my view the statment applies to all business. The so called Digital Revolution is just an artifact and consolidation of R&D in various forms by the human race or technology evolution.

What is more fundamentally important in my view is the core purpose of business and economies and why we seek to improve efficiences in business. I would argue that business exists to serve people for indeed without them it could not exist. More is the point that perhaps we should be seeking to build more sustainability into business which would help guarantee the future for the new generations of people that may come to exist. Enter "Capitalism 2", I suggest that trust, honesty and sharing is key to reaching a point of equilibrium for the human race in a peaceable manner.
Mr. Dilema
In a digital business environment, great leaders are those who appreciate and understand the power of technology and analytics. But that alone is insufficient. Mastering personal relationships that build trust and create a collaborative work environment is central to leadership effectiveness in the digital economy.
Luis Javier Mosquera
Social networks, mail and all the new ways to be in touch, improve effciency in business communications but goes in the opposite direction about building personal links:  we are missing the fabulous face to face relationships.
Rush Khan
Indeed, mastery relation  is very essential in every organisations!