Say You Won't Let Go

It’s time to bring back #TuesdaysinLeadership!  If you’re new(ish) to my blog, this series is where I discuss a topic of leadership in response to a podcast that I’m currently digging – the podcast is called Lead Stories.  It’s a podcast where two amazing women discuss topics and questions surrounding leadership.  This week we’re going to take a look at Season 01: Episode 44: The Leader Behind the Scenes: Who are Your People?
This was exactly the podcast I needed to hear this week.  I love this discussion and it prompted me to step out of my comfort zone in one of my relationships.
In their discussion, Jo and Steph both let us in and told us who their people are and how they connect with that group.  When you’re a person in leadership, you need people who have your back and who get you.  You need relationships with people that care about you and challenge you.  It’s something I always acknowledge that I need but have struggled having it.  Part of that is due to transitions in life, my people have moved away, I’ve moved away.  It’s created continuity issues.
In this conversation, Steph brought up the idea of having a DTR with your people.  We use that term in romantic relationships where you sit down and have that awkward conversation about what you both want and need and whether that can happen together.  But Steph said challenged their listeners to have that DTR with the people you are hoping to count on, otherwise you may go to lean on them and they won’t be there – like a failed trust fall.
I’ve never thought of that before.  To actually have a face to face conversation with someone I’m hoping to have some level of vulnerability and trust with, to invite someone to become one of my people.  I love this idea of putting out there what you need and asking what the other person needs and then agreeing to a level of friendship that works for those needs.
So that begged the question – what do I need?  I had to do some soul searching and praying to know what exactly I was in need of in my relationships.  What am I looking for beyond having fun with them and compatibility.  Here’s what I came up with:


I’ve shared about this here before but I have some level of trust issues.  I’m working through it but sometimes they still rear their ugly little heads.  So loyalty is something I prioritize in my relationships.  Here’s how I define this characteristic: loyalty in relations someone who has my back through thick and thin.  It’s someone that I can take everything they say and do at face value and not question if I’m getting the ‘real story.’  In a world where gossip sometimes disguises itself as telling a story or processing a situation, I need my closest relationships to be people who will have my back.

Grace and Accountability

I am in no way perfect.  I don’t lead perfectly, I am not a perfect friend, I may be a perfectionist but I often fail at that too.  So something I look for in friendship is both grace for when I will inevitably screw up and accountability to push me to be better.  No one wants to hear that they messed up but I need my friends to tell me when I’m being too stubborn or when I need to take a deeper look at why I do what I do.


Again with the trust, there are times I need to talk about things that need to stay between me and my people.  I’ve been burned in this way before, and it might be because I am so open with my own life.  But I need my friends to know that my story is mine to tell.

Respect and Attention

This one sounds weird – but again it comes from having known the opposite.  I want to have friends who are willing to truly listen to what’s going on in my life and ask about it.  Too often I’ve had friends who ask me about something but then don’t really want to listen.  Or immediately tell me about something they experienced rather than listen to my full answer.  I’m an external processor and I need my people to be those willing to deep dive with me.
As I listened to Jo and Steph talk about who their people are and how we can identify our people – I realized that before I could even identify my people, I needed to ask myself what I needed.  That’s why I made this list.  Then, as I made this list, I realized that those who I already called my people already contain these characteristics.   It also led to a conversation where I invited someone new in.
Friendships are a tricky thing, especially for those in leadership.  But when we are honest with what we need then it may be easier to define who can be our support system.  It’s great to have clear expectations for our relationships so that we know if we are asking the right amount and if our people can feel like they can provide for them.
Also, obviously this is a two way street.  You need to ask your people what they need from you so you can provide that for them.  But it starts with you –

what do you need from your people?

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