January 2, 2010

Effective Business Relationships – What Are They?

In any workplace, the interactions between those involved are vital for successful performance. There is a fine line between those interactions working effectively and the strength of individuals’ characters creating challenges.

Great managers know what makes business relationships work – and they work at them.

Defining and understanding effective relationships is the place to start. By having a clear picture of what makes up a good relationship in the workplace, it’s much easier to set out your stall to make it happen.

As with most definitions, clarity of what works best will often indicate the components that need to be in place to make a success of it, so here goes with some thoughts of how effective business relationships stand out:-

1. Sustainable Results Happen

The most important aspect of any management effort is that the outcomes, which are defined by the over-arching organization – however large or small – are achieved. By the efforts of great managers, the relationships they build set success in motion, through their ability to generate exceptional performance from everyone in their team.

A manager’s people skills and capabilities create long-term sustainable results from relationships that are valuable to both sides.

2. Everyone’s a Winner

Short-term gain may come about from being overly-demanding, unfair or even a bully. That’s not much of a relationship, so the measure of success is that investment made in the relationships built will be lasting, where all stakeholders get a good deal.

Employees who benefit from good relationships with their boss will be motivated to stay longer, be sick less often (really!) and deliver more than when a relationship is one-sided and short-term.

3. Learning Happens

In great workplace relationships, there is an understanding and trust between those involved, such that when things don’t quite go to plan, that’s OK!

The key here is that a relationship that’s developed over time and is felt to be two-way, enables managers to support and help their people when outcomes don’t achieve expectations.

By working to use the experience as an opportunity to learn, the relationship, far from being soured by the turn of events, is strong enough to grow together even more.

4. Behaviors Go Viral

Managers have a vital role to play in creating the relationships with each of their people.

This can even mean that where teams are large, effective managers are tuned in to make the time to build effective relationships with every one of their team by being interested in them as individuals.

By modeling the relationship building behaviors to their people, it doesn’t take long before the team themselves are infused with this ‘way of working’.

The manager sets the ball rolling and the people in the team replicate their behaviors outwards.

5. Business Culture Grows

As everyone gets involved, the culture evolves.

New people entering the team simply work much more closely and effectively, because that’s ‘the way we do things around here’.

The way you have worked to create a cohesive team through the relationships you have fostered, will be a legacy that will last for years, as those around you ‘fly the same flag’ as well.

6. There’s Fun!

Where relationships with colleagues work well, there is an openness and energy that provides much value in the business returns that are achieved.

Yet there’s more.

The workplace becomes not just the place that folks come to earn their crust, it becomes a place they enjoy and have fun together, enthused with the knowledge that this is a great place to be and not ‘just another job’.

The relationships that you, as their manager, are able to create with your people, are a testament to the efforts you make in getting on well with them.

The overall outcome of creating great relationships with those upon whom you depend (make no mistake about it!), for the success of your enterprise, are the results you achieve and, perhaps even more valuable, the amazing ethic that your people are fortunate enough to share in the workplace culture they experience.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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