OK, once again...
Some leadership-success can indeed be achieved without it, but it will be fleeting and short-term, 'Pay me now or pay me later (or maybe) 'What we sow is what we reap'...?
A few leaders get this up front; some get it after a few of these painful fleeting-experiences; and many in management fight & hate 'their leadership role' because they just never get this!
This is not only about the personal 'warm & fuzzy' aspect of relationship, but also the functional dynamics of organizational relationship(s). It gets to the heart of the pic/graphic here I espouse over & over & over....
Again, the Learning-Leader will dive deep to understand the depth of what all this means in terms of both his/her PERSONAL & FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, ...and therefore their LEADERSHIP SUCCESS.
The leader who will succeed long-term is the one who 'sees' his/her spheres of influence (as some call it). They are the ones who reach out in all directions (horizontally, vertically, diagonally & even throughout those dysfunctional dotted-line relations) to establish, grow & maintain each of them. He/she will not only do this for selfish motives (of making his/her world as good as it can be); but see it 'as their leader duty' - to maintain these relationships for the good of those he/she leads.
When relationships horizontally and above are NOT good, the leader is failing the people. They (those below) are stuck with the consequence of the leader's NOT SO GOOD relationships as it causes issues, conflicts, inefficiencies & dysfunction down below..............(think about it).
Those leaders NOT getting it, will go through seasons of failure as previously-ignored relationships catches up with us all sooner or later -- possibly after months & years of apparent success. If caught soon enough and ...the leader gets what is happening, ...and goes about repairing damage, ...and relationships are returned to GOOD - he/she will experience a resurgence of success. If he/she resists and just continues business as usual, the likely consequence will be turnover, blame/fault taking hold, the manager departing, business downturn or failure, etc.
As I think through this - most of my 20 years of work with leadership, leaders, culture & org. development is a result of all this not being practiced by leaders! Relationships deteriorate (after months/years of ignoring spheres), then leaders & management begin to seek out and spend time and $$$ on programs, gimmicks, giveaways & any other shortcut to fix it. All of these fail long-term!
SOLUTION: Begin now wherever you sit (leader or not) to 'see your sphere'; then reach out in all directions to establish, fix, repair, improve or just maintain at a high level - all of your relationships. Think of it as part of your job-description maybe. Go ahead do it for selfish reasons. Others will benefit as well - do you even see that others are suffering because you won't go do it and alleviate some of their troubles down below?
NOT THE SOLUTION: Blaming the economy, a new org. chart, moving someone so they won't have to work with knucklehead, or some other external excuse or factor....