"I'm a mid-level manager. What leadership skills should I build to move ahead?"
When I worked in corporate America, I worked very hard and consistently delivered — always exceeding expectations. But I did not understand the value of building strategic relationships inside and outside of my organization.
Success in corporate America requires developing and maintaining successful relationships. It’s the key to influence and advancing an agenda. What I have learned and want to share with you is this: Your work will get you in the door, but your relationships will ensure your success. Building deep and wide relationships will help you expand your value, build new capabilities and remain relevant.
On a side note, the most important aspect of leadership, besides humility, is truly recognizing that it's not about you — it's about what happens because of you. If we look at the greatest contributors on the face of the earth and think about leadership in a broad way, we see you don't have to be the loudest or the smartest. But you do have to have a heart for people.
Consider the most successful companies. They are typically voted the best places to work. They value their people as their greatest asset. Whether it's Google, The Container Store or The Coca-Cola Company, their leaders see profit as the derivative of focusing on the people. The majority of people who lead today don’t get that. If they would get it, they could take it to the bank — and leave a powerful legacy.