February 1, 2010

Workplace Relationship Building – Creating A Better Understanding

There are many opportunities for misunderstandings when we work in organizations. The most common reason is the way we fail to communicate properly.

The relationships we have with our people can easily change that.

Managers who have a vested interest in the success of their teams, have a role to play to ensure that communication is right. Simply expecting that what gets said is interpreted the way intended just does not always work.

By getting to know their people well, there will always be signs to help ensure that understanding is a priority. Employees have ways of showing when they aren’t sure and a closer relationship will make sure that you see that too.

Only by being close enough to their people, will a manager have the ability to use their sense of intuition to recognize these signs. Sometimes it will be blatantly obvious when something has not been clear. On other occasions, it will be some small and almost insignificant sign – especially to the untrained eye and ear.

That’s why making the smallest of investments in time, of getting to know people well enough, is vital. And that goes both ways too, where their better awareness of you is critical to understand your nuances too.

When we lead teams, it’s not enough to view them as a team alone. Communications don’t work when we try to do things that appeal only to a mass. By spending time in easy conversation with each of our people, we will build our own awareness of them, whilst also showing them that we are interested enough to make that investment in them too.

The truth is, where we want to understand our people better, we have to make the effort to talk to them and even more importantly listen to them hard. It’s not effective enough to pay lip-service to our people these days. Listening hard means really understanding what they say and how they say it – even expending to appreciating what’s not been said too.

The effective relationships we build will always help to make sure that we are understood as well as possible. As in the great adage from Stephen Covey in ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, we must always ‘seek first to understand and (only) then, be understood’.

The prerequisite to our expectations of being understood is that we take the time to understand fully our people first.

By making efforts in getting these one-to-one relationships working right in the first place, we always have the much better chance to make sure that the understanding between both sides is working to its full potential.

And that’s a value for everyone involved, leading to success being that much more likely.

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

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