Building Authentic Relationships Through L.E.A.D.

The Key to Business Success

As a leader, your success depends on the relationships you build with your employees, clients, and stakeholders. While there are many ways to build relationships, the LEAD framework stands out as a powerful method. LEAD works on building authentic relationships that are based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.

At Birdie Box we use this across our company to build our own relationships with each other and implement it with our clients. The implementation of LEAD helps us provide an elevated gifting experience for our clients. 

L.E.A.D Infographic


The first step in building authentic relationships is listening. Listening means paying attention to your employees, clients, and stakeholders and understanding what they have to say.

It requires you to put aside your own biases and opinions and truly hear what they are saying. This means actively engaging in conversations, asking questions, and responding thoughtfully. When you listen, you build trust and understanding, which are the foundation of any successful relationship. 

Have you heard of acute listening? Acute listening is asking layered questions to better understand (or seek to learn) the intent, emotions and intuitive context of a topic, person or situation.

Seek to be better informed and prepared by asking layered questions to better understand (or seeking to learn) the intent, emotions and intuitive context of a topic, person or situation.

Acute listening allows us to build relationships within our work place while becoming a compassionate listener. By continuing to layer on the questions this allows us to be our most authentic self, open your heart and mind to hearing and learning. Be comfortable knowing you don’t know it all, but be prepared to learn more and do some homework.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When you are empathetic, you put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to understand their perspective.

Empathy requires you to be patient, compassionate, and non-judgmental. It means taking the time to understand what someone is going through and responding with kindness and understanding. When you are empathetic, you build strong connections with others and create an environment of support and trust.

Essentially empathy, it is putting yourself in someone else's position and feeling what they must be feeling.

Empathy can create a clean and balanced playing field. Here are some basic guidelines to creating a safe space. Step one is self respect. Honor your own choices, words, and actions. Do not sell yourself short, stand firm in your beliefs. Step two is to confront your fears while respecting others. Fear causes confusion and frustration, but it is only real because you give it power. Step three is to be kind and curious, connect and listen to yourself and others. Step four is to audit your thoughts, what do you tell yourself daily? Your actions derivative from your thoughts. Audit your thoughts to know what to change or get rid of because all action is the result of thought. Step five is to take action for yourself and listen to others. There is always time to "respond" to everyone, but there is not always time to "fix" everything. Step six is to be grateful. There is always something you can be grateful for. Showing an abundance of gratitude encourages others to give to that abundance. Step seven is about coming from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. Believing that there is more than enough (people, time, money, etc.) creates a positive work and home environment. Abundance is thoughtful and welcoming, where scarcity is negative and challenging.

A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.

In order to trust you must be empathetic. Trust is made up of multiple tiny moments over time to create a bond. Trust is also choosing to make something that is important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.

Build trust through B.R.A.V.I.N.G.

Boundaries - be clear with your boundaries and respect others.

Reliability - if you do what you say you’re going to do (not just once, but consistently) you build your reliability. You must be clear on your limitations, so you do not take on too much and come up short in your deliverables.
Accountability - you own mistakes, apologize and make a mends. You must allow others to do the same.
Vault - what I share, you will hold in confidence and vice versa.
  • Do not share what is not yours to share.
  • Do not gossip, vent, or talk ill.
Integrity - choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over fun, fast or easy, practicing your values, not just professing or broadcasting them onto others.
Non-judgement - I can struggle and not be judged, and I can not judge while some one is struggling. You must be able to ask for help and give help. 
  • If you struggle to ask for help (insecurity of weakness), then you to some degree judge those who do ask.
Generosity - You can assume the most generous thing about my words and intentions, even if I do not deliver well or fall short.

Do you trust yourself? If you can't count on yourself you can't expect or ask that of others. You will know you’re worthy of receiving trust, when you trust yourself above everything else.


Accountability means taking responsibility for your actions and being transparent with others. It is about being honest and straightforward, even when the truth may be difficult to hear. Accountability requires you to be accountable for your own mistakes and to hold others accountable for theirs. It is about creating a culture of responsibility and trust, where everyone takes ownership of their actions and works together to achieve common goals.

Matthew Barzun once said "....With a constellation mindset, we see everyone as a star, we see people’s unique potential and power".


Delivering Consistent Results

Building authentic relationships requires delivering consistent results. This means setting clear expectations, following through on commitments, and delivering high-quality work. It is about being reliable and consistent in your actions and earning the trust of others. When you deliver consistent results, you build a reputation for excellence and create a culture of trust and respect.

Execution is the final judgement... It speaks for itself… Every time.

Some common limitations to delivering consistent results is seeking "perfection" and having a finite mindset. The finite-minded player strives to climb to the top, but the infinite-minded player strives to constantly improve.

With an infinite mindset, players are known and unknown. The rules constantly change and evolve. And the objective is to stay in the game for as long as possible for the good of the whole.

We can live and act with an infinite mindset by LEADing! 

To recap: 

Listening - Be perpetually curious & humble, seek to learn 
Empathy - Operate from abundance and trust yourself
Accountability - Self awareness + vulnerability + time management = empowerment.
Delivering consistent results - do the work and live with an infinite mindset.

Winning Together

Implementing LEAD leads to building authentic relationships that are based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding. Listen, show empathy or understanding, be accountable, and deliver consistent results.

As a leader, taking the time to build authentic relationships is critical to your success, and LEAD provides a clear framework for achieving that success. Whether you are working with employees, clients, or stakeholders, using LEAD can help you build the authentic relationships you need to achieve your goals.

Sounds simple, but it really isn't. Implementing this framework consists of practicing to the point it becomes second nature.

Questions? Thoughts? We'd love to hear from you drop a comment below. 


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