The greatest benefit of being relatable is the ease in which you function within the world. By cultivating your relatability, you will expand your worldview, and this expanded worldview will make it more comfortable for you to move throughout today’s global economy and digital landscape. This relatability also makes it possible for you to improve the lives of the people who come into contact with you.

The healing power of relatable leaders can be felt in two main ways. First, when you are the relatable leader, you have the opportunity to improve the human condition, and when you work with relatable leaders, you feel how they are capable of generating a love for life among those who get to work with them. Why? Because leaders create the mood and tone of any circumstance, and relatable leaders understand in what ways they can impact people’s lives for the better.

A 2018 Gallup survey stated that Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world, with nearly one-half of the Americans polled admitting to feeling worried a lot of the time. In October 2020, the American Psychological Association reported that three in five (60%) of Americans say that the number of issues America faces currently is overwhelming to them. That means that someone you know, if it’s not you, feels stressed or overwhelmed.

Relatable leaders understand that each person’s reality is how they interpret it, meaning it’s individual to that person. This matters because relatable leaders are able to look at their team and understand how to create a positive, productive environment for each person on their team. They understand everyone has their own journey to get to where they want to be, and they don’t expect everyone to follow the same path. Not everyone will need the same levels of support and guidance, and relatable leaders have the power to heal those around them by creating individual interactions that foster a caring and productive work environment.

When we practice relatable leadership and then surround ourselves with other relatable leaders, we have the power to heal those around us and they have the power to heal those people around them, and we do this in three ways: relating to others, relating to circumstances and others relating to you.

Relating To Others

Relatable leaders cultivate their relatability so they can better relate to others. Who you are shapes how you perceive the world, and your own subjectivity influences your perspectives. By practicing compassionate communication, you will be able to relate to others and make them feel valued and heard. When employees feel they are cared for, and receive adequate support from their managers, they experience less work-related stress. As a relatable leader, you can use your own experiences to provide context around how you can relate to your team members and improve their daily work conditions, helping them feel less anxious, worried or angry.

Relating To Circumstances

Relatable leaders cultivate their relatability so they can better relate to circumstances. New experiences provide wonderful learning opportunities for leaders to expand their worldview. By continually engaging in new experiences, you will be better equipped to proactively act or to react to new, challenging or unfamiliar circumstances.

This requires a degree of vulnerability, but by becoming familiar with unfamiliar circumstances, you will feel less anxious or stressed when faced with uncomfortable situations. There is a healing power in feeling comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and as Altony Lee, III noted during a Leadership Collier email exchange, “Leaders must be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Others Relating To You

Relatable leaders cultivate their relatability so others can better relate to them. By focusing on developing your cultural agility, others will feel more at ease in your presence and that relatability will foster a wider range of who you can influence. If leadership is related to influence, then the broader your range of influence, the more people you’ll be able to heal. When people feel like they can relate to you, they are more likely to trust you, and according to a Harvard Business Publishing corporate learning article, organizations with high levels of trust reported “74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout than people at low-trust companies.”

By cultivating your own relatability, you can be part of the solution in supporting your team members’ mental and emotional well-being.

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