January 13, 2010

Effective Workplace Relationships – How Much Do You Want It?

Whilst management is all about getting the best from the people in your team, they aren’t your only focus. You see, the extent of either success or failure all depends on your personal drive and ambition as well.

The key to effective management comes from your personal abilities to make the most of your team members. Whilst this might sound like it’s a done deal if you work hard enough and are focused on maxing those people out, there are a number of challenges to get past inside yourself first.

Most managers can drive their people’s performance well and, depending on how good their relationship is with their people, this capability will dictate the levels of success they achieve, both in the short- and long-term.

There is a bigger challenge that the very best managers are able to evaluate and then overcome. It’s about what they are prepared to amend, test and even sacrifice in themselves, in order to develop the most effective value-creating relationships, with all of their people.

Whilst it might sound like this is going to be a tough series of consequences for a manager to change in their behaviors, yet it isn’t as hard as it might seem to be at first consideration.

There are five key elements that will be tested for a manager to succeed in developing the relationships they need, to be successful with their team:-

1. Be very interested in others – is most important, because when you show you are really interested in people, it builds rapport, trust and bigger relationships quickly develop

2. Be a lot less interested in themselves – your people love to hear themselves about themselves much more than about  you (though they do like it if you open up a bit from time to time)

3. Giving up control – by letting go of some of their personal controls, the best managers enable their people more, which brings them much closer together (and takes the pressure off the manager too!)

4. Spending some time investing – getting to know their team members (almost inside-out!), will be an investment of their precious time that’s definitely well worth the effort

5. Actually making the effort – by focusing on and creating the opportunities for interactions, the best managers recognize that this is an area of their management that is worth their fullest attention

Most of this work is defining whether a manager has the strength of character to dig in and do the work they need to. It’s both a test of their spirit and energy, as much as helping them find their management path and style.

It’s also a good measure whether they are prepared to challenge, assess and adjust their own behaviors, to get what they truly want from the work they do, by effectively and objectively developing the relationships with their people.

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

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Introducing And Managing Workplace Change

Change is a fact of life. Managing change brings challenges for even the most experienced of managers, yet it’s how it’s handled that can shape a career.

How we take on board the changes that are expected of us when we manage others, can have a significant impact on the way that our people react to them.

By investing time in getting and keeping close to our employees makes a huge difference in how they view us, so what we do with changing situations can be made much easier if we help them understand that we have our job to do and sometimes, just sometimes, that involves introducing changes that are challenging.

Getting them on board the train you are driving is a very smart tactic to adopt, so that there will be a coherency in approach with everyone pulling together as far as possible.

Often, where the bonds between you are very good, there will be an appreciation of the way you handle difficult change and even a support back for you from those affected, where they understand how difficult the experience is for you as well.

Working on those regular interactions with as many of your people as possible is worth it, to help with managing change – one of the many benefits of the investment in being with your people on a regular basis, day-in, day-out throughout your time working together.

It can be tempting for managers who have difficult changes to bring about, to pass the buck upwards to avoid any personal links to the actions being undertaken.

“I don’t agree with it, but…” is a lame effort to shirk responsibility and get off the hook. Where you do this, it’s likely that you will make matters much worse.

Your people will disrespect you for it. Your bosses will come to appreciate your lack of support and for you personally, there will be a gap in how your own actions have not been authentic within the positions for which you are being paid.

The key to progress is to have the great relationships with your people pre-formed; be open and honest about the changes that are coming about; and then to involve as many of the people for whom change will have an impact, in working on ways to make the change work for the benefit of them too.

Generating their ideas and input with refocus any energy they might have to oppose change and often, so often, they will come up with much better solutions to smooth the change through than you might have on your own.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Focus on Results by Martin

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