In an instant, the relationship was broken.

I had seen it so many times before that I honestly wasn’t surprised. A meeting taking place. Someone offering an idea because of the boss asking a question. And the boss squashing/making fun of the idea.

In that instant, a level of trust diminished between the boss and the employee.

The employee shut down right before my eyes. This person became unengaged in the meeting and in the workplace.

I’m not saying that the relationship was ruined forever, but it definitely hit a bump in the road.

It’s All About Relationships

What is important to remember is that leadership is about relationships.

You have to trust one another in a relationship. Your people have to believe that you are in their corner. They need to believe that you are going to go to bat for them in whatever situation arises.

When a boss begins to realize it’s more beneficial for everyone to build a working relationship out of trust, honesty, integrity, strong communication, and character, the level of employee engagement will increase. If you have a good working relationship then you will be more effective in your leading of others.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner conducted a study starting in the 1980’s and have repeated it numerous times. The goal was to find out what makes a leader worth following. The responses each time have shown that words such as “honesty,” “integrity,” “truthfulness,” “trustworthiness,” and “conviction” are in the top responses by participants.

This is what people want from their leaders.

You can’t hide who you truly are for long. Your people will figure out your character sooner than later, and that character will either lead to greater loyalty and engagement, or less productivity.

Let’s be honest here, employee engagement makes life better for you, for them, and for the bottom line of the organization.

What Happened?

In regards to the employee at the beginning of the story, she didn’t stick around for long. Within 7 months she left the organization. She told me she left because “she was tired of being talked down to and yelled at for things that were not my fault, as well as my opinion not mattering.”

Remember that your altitude in an organization should not determine your attitude.

[bctt tweet=”Your altitude should not determine your attitude.” username=”stephaniegerman”]

Developing your emotional intelligence and soft skills as a leader will make you more successful in the long run.

If you don’t know where to start, I’d encourage you to read my book, So Your Boss Can’t Lead? It takes you through the basics of leading so you can hone in on your craft as a leader.



If you are a leader or emerging leader who wants to lead with meaning and purpose, then let’s connect. I would love to help you become a leader worth following.

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 13 Simple Actions To Increase Engagement by Becoming a Better Leader and See Your Revenue Grow guide on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


Stephanie German is a leadership coach, adjunct professor, and dedicated work-from-home mom. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and is the chair of the Red Shoe Society Central Valley (Ronald McDonald House guild). When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to nurture the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

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