The key to being a successful leader is to prioritise relationships over results, according to Brett White, the 246th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers.

That doesn’t mean Brett thinks results aren’t important – he does. Rather, he thinks the best way to get those results is for leaders to build strong relationships with the people tasked with doing the work required to achieve them.

That’s because the more people feel their leaders care about and understand them, the more likely they are to be fully engaged with their work. That, in turn, means they’ll be more productive and loyal. So focusing on relationships isn’t touchy-feely – it’s good business.

From Brett’s experience, many leaders are strong in intellectual intelligence but weak in emotional and social intelligence.

The reason I had such a fascinating discussion about leadership with Brett is because he teaches it for a living. Brett is the founder of Be Leaders, which provides leadership consulting and coaching for individuals and businesses.

Brett is very good company. He’s also humble. I smiled when he admitted he doesn’t always respond well to feedback, even though that’s part of being a good leader.

There was another thing Brett said that got me thinking. If you ask someone to name an outstanding leader they’ve had and to explain why that leader was so good, the person will almost always mention the leader’s human qualities rather than their skills.

So your favourite leader is almost certainly someone who excels at relationships.