How Being a ‘4D’ Leader Impacts Business Relationships

Guest post from Dr Alan Watkins:
are collections of human beings and the success of our businesses are grounded
in our relationships with each other and with our customers. Successful
relationships require a multi-dimensional approach.
too many leaders today are one-dimensional. They are so preoccupied with what
they need to do (the IT dimension) that they often fail to pay sufficient
attention to themselves (the I dimension) or their relationships (the WE
dimension) that ultimately drive performance.
best leaders operate well in all three dimensions and they recognise that they
also need to develop in the fourth dimension, which is their level of
sophistication in the I, WE and IT dimensions.
Start with being (the I
ability to build successful relationships is entirely dependent on the
sophistication of our interior landscape and our ability to regulate our own emotional
you are an Oscar-winning actor, you will not be able to hide how you are really
feeling at any point. How you feel is ultimately determined by your biology. If
you’re anxious, your heart will be racing. When your heart beats fast, that
biological signal is actually radiated off the body. Your colleagues may not have
an ECG machine to know for sure, but they will notice an inconsistency between
what you’re saying and the biological signals your body is emitting.
into the right emotional state means taking control of your biology. We can
only sustain confidence in the face of pressure if our biology actually
supports this state. Such biological consistency is the ultimate level of ‘authentic
leadership’.  Inspiring confidence, something
critical to successful business relationships, is much easier when we shift ourselves
into a genuine state of inner biological confidence. Our emotional state
completely changes our ability to think clearly and build high quality
Move on to relating
(the WE dimension)
you are more aware of how you are being and are able to control your emotional
state, you will find building successful relationships comes much easier. But
relating to others successfully means really listening and hearing what people
mean rather than what they are saying.
about a conversation you’ve had recently. Can you say you were really listening
to the other person? Did you pick up on the tone, body language and subtle
nuance of their communication? Unfortunately, communication for most people is
a combination of talking and waiting to speak.
if we cultivate a fascination in what the other person means, not just what
they are saying we can connect much more effectively with them.  In such a condition, we can make people feel
heard, and ‘seen’. Creating such a dynamic based on warmth and appreciation
rather than indifference or judgmentalism will put the speaker more at ease and
they will open up more.
the speaker has stopped their transmission, you can playback what they really
meant at the deeper level rather than just repeating every word they said. You
are not trying to simply summarise what they said or even offer an, opinion,
solution, counterargument, reaction or interpretation. Rather you are simply reflecting
back what you feel the speaker meant – the deeper meaning beneath the literal spoken
business relationships come not from doing more things, but through a better
understanding of ourselves and how we relate to others.

Dr. Alan Watkins is CEO and Founder of Complete Coherence. Both physician and
neuroscientist, he has been a coach to many top CEOs and business leaders for
over 15 years. He is also the author of Coherence: The Secret Science of Brilliant Leadership and 4D Leadership: Competitive Advantage Through Vertical
Leadership Development
(both published by Kogan Page).