Relationships are an interesting part of the human experience.
It’s hard to qualify what makes them work and what makes them fail. It’s hard to figure out why two people that are completely opposite can be best of friends yet family members with a lot in common can go years without speaking to each other.
The more I lead others and the longer I live, the more I learn about relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I still haven’t figured it all out, but one thing I’ve learned is that to form a relationship, there has to be some type of mutual care. In other words, both parties need to know that the other party cares about them in some way. Sometimes, that may be in a very shallow and surface level place, but care must exist.
Showing we care is all about the follow up.
Think about it…
Relationships of most any kind (beyond a transactional kind of thing) require multiple times of connection. I have to be around someone more than once to build any kind of depth in a relationship.
What I’ve found is that people like to be followed up with, but we often don’t want to do the follow up.
We’ve all had those people that we kept reaching out to but never initiated anything back. We’ve had those people that we’ve tried to keep a relationship with but didn’t seem to want to have one with us.
Why did we feel like they didn’t want a relationship with us? Because they didn’t follow up.
Relationships require follow up.
One of the best things you can do is remember a conversation with someone and follow up about it later. For instance, if someone you know is having a tough time and they tell you about it, your follow up with them deepens the relationship because you’ve shown you care.
Leaders: Don’t get tired of being the one to follow up.
It may take multiple times of being the one to follow up before it’s reciprocated. In life, it’s one thing, but as leaders, we have to continue to follow up. That’s how people know we care.
When people know we care, they’ll listen to what we say.