January 4, 2010

Workplace Relationship Building Is Vital

Small things matter. Tiny nuances in the way we interact with people can shift the balance between success and failure. So when we manage people, we have to be aware of the impact our behaviors can – and do – have.

As managers, whether we look after two part-time helpers in our small business, or lead a huge team, perhaps even remotely, we depend on others for success.

Rarely, in most business situations, be they commercial or service driven, public, private or not-for-profit, can a manager do it alone. For free standing entrepreneurs, there may be a few times where they think they can cope alone (though this is actually even rarer), because they work in isolation.

Managers need their people onside to work in the most productive of ways.

And the bottom line is that, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, people are significantly influenced in their capacity to deliver, by the way they interpret their interactions with a line manager.

They say that 65% of people leave their job because of the way their immediate line manager interacts with them, so any manager worth their salt will themselves take note of this and work hard to make the best of the relationships they have with their employees.

Now, some managers have a natural capability to get on well with their people. They create a relationship that is fruitful, seemingly almost without trying. They are ‘people’ people, with a natural flair for building relationships.

For others, it’s much more challenging, where it can often be the case that they don’t know what they are doing wrong and as a consequence, find it hard to work out what they need to change to get it right.

In these cases, with closer investigation, it’s easy to find disillusioned staff who find their manager unapproachable and even unreasonable.

Neither side knows why, yet the manager is the one who suffers the most in terms of performance, whilst the employees suffer most emotionally, affecting not just their workplace experience, but their bigger life too.

Though some people who lead teams will have a more natural talent to create relationships, there are simple tactics that others can learn, practice and adopt that will change their lives – and those of their people too – creating much more effective management, as well as significantly improving business performance as well.

Even simple skills like being better listeners (as described so eloquently in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ that great classic by Dale Carnegie) make huge differences.

Without effective relationships with their team members, managers will struggle, yet where they make the effort to build relationships with employees, there will be rich rewards indeed, for everyone.

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

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