Reuben Egolf – The Value of Relationships in Leadership

Honor – the salve that heals social ills.


The topic of “leadership” is approached from every angle imaginable it seems. However, there is one part of leadership I rarely hear spoke about and it is the subject concerning the importance of relationships to leadership. Normally we speak about the organizational side, or how to improve our communication skills, but our relationships will ultimately make or break us. I have known those who were great visionaries, possessed unimaginable oratory skill, and had a knack for motivating people, but lacked discernment about the relationships they chose and as a result, they are no longer effective in leadership or in it at all. We do not succeed or fail on our own. The quality of our relationships determine much of what we experience – good or bad – success or failure.

The trust factor in leadership and knowing who you can trust, and on what levels you can trust certain people, really comes down to properly identifying and discerning the differences. There are some people you can trust during a project or legislation because they share the same goal that it achieves, but you couldn’t trust them with internal secrets. We could say there are levels of relationships.

A person’s character can only reveal itself through reactions. The definition of a reaction is a response. That response will expose and indicate a person’s feelings or emotional attitude. Pay attention how people respond in the following.

  1. How the person reacts and responds to authority

A reaction of dishonor reveals rebellion and the height of selfishness and thus a dangerous person. Honor is an indicator of love. When I honor my wife, I am demonstrating my love for her. The reverse is also true. Honor is not something merely said; it is a reaction to the presence of that person.

2. Note how the person reacts to his or her own promises and responsibilities.

We have all encountered the person who says, “I promise to pay it back.” A person’s reaction to his or her own promise reveals that person’s character concerning the value of what he or she says. If a person will not honor his or her own word, then that person will not honor yours either. This reveals to you that you may never be able to trust that person.

I have found that simple observance and putting more weight on one’s actions compared to what they say, proves to be a protective measure when it comes to professional and personal relationships.

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