March 5, 2010

Employee And Management Relationships – 5 Ways To ‘Win-Win’

Getting the best from workplace relationships is one of the most significant goals for managers.

The truth is, there must be outcomes for both sides that work effectively – and they come in different shapes and sizes.

For workplace relationships to be effective, there has to be a benefit that both sides achieve, or the interaction is always going to be an uphill challenge, with neither side ultimately fully satisfied.

Indeed there is no overall value when one side deems themselves to be the ‘winner’ and the other side goes away empty handed.

In the one-to-one relationships we have with every one of our people, it’s vital to ensure that you as manager achieve the business outcomes you need to deliver.

On the other hand, the individual on the other side of the desk, must go some way to having their needs met too. Often these are needs which are even more valuable than simply their salary check at the end of the month.

In truth, they need more again to be fully motivated and ‘turned on’ to the relationship that you have between you.

The Win-Win Scenario can sound a bit like a trade-off for a manager. One where there might be a hint of ‘giving it away’.

To balance this view a little, let’s have a look at five situations where a manager might feel like they are losing out by giving their employee more than they might wish – and then see the positives that can accrue from that.

1. ‘I need some time’ – by offering some time to sit with, listen and support/coach your employee, you are building the relationship, developing trust and encouraging them to take ownership of their own evolution in their job.

This does NOT mean you are responsible for their ‘next steps’ – you are careful to pass those back to them – you DO have a role in facilitating their choices.

2. ‘I need your help’
– could precipitate a groan or two. Yet this is a perfect opportunity to show that you aren’t a softie, just prepared to suffer with them. Asking for help is just that, requiring a gentle nudge along the way to get them moving.

This is great for clarifying your role as a support for their chosen actions, as well as providing the opportunity for them to self-enable.

3. ‘I need you to understand’
– sounds like trouble? Maybe. In fact when you are approached to understand your people better, this is a great moment to savor. It shows that you are approachable and it shows a willingness on the part of your colleague to build a better bridge in the relationship between you.

Of course, it is vital that you pay full attention and take on board what is said, willingly seeking to understand what they want to get across.

4. ‘Please listen to me’ – means that they need you to appreciate them. It is about them sharing with you that they feel unheard, so it’s a warning sign. The important thing here is that they are prepared to ask, so the relationship is not at rock bottom.

There is a willingness to partner with you – and that’s a positive sign for the future.

5. ‘I’m bored with working here’ – isn’t that great! If and when you ever hear this, it can be music to your ears, because it shows that there is a desire NOT to be bored.

When you are approached in this way, your ‘win’ is that you have potential there that is not being fulfilled, so there are options.

This is not a Lose/Win at all, because once you switch them on, their value will soar, providing significantly better performance for you and your progress towards your goals too.

Rarely, where there is a relationship to unfold, will there be Win/Lose or Lose/Win experiences for managers who are prepared to grasp the opportunities that jump out at them.

The key is to ensure that you are open to the possibilities that make each and every interaction a ‘Win-Win’, because it is available to you, if you want to make the effort to take it.

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

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March 2, 2010

Management Tactics – No Winners With Win/Lose Or Lose/Win

In every relationship we have, we need to be focused enough to ensure that there is a balance between both sides.

When there is not, that’s when the trouble begins. The workplace is definitely no exception.

The relationships that we make as managers with our people are the invaluable partnerships that enable us to deliver much more than we could alone.

The teams of individuals we bring together synergize to create results that are far more than the sum of the parts. When we manager others, it’s our role to do this.

The relationships we form to drive a successful team cannot be at group level. For the people in the team this is not enough. They need us to be prepared to engage in personal relationships with them, one-to-one, from time to time.

Whilst we can impact on the team as a whole for the decisions that we make and even impose on them, the effects are never at team level, they are always felt inside, by each and every one of those involved.

So, we have to make effective relationships with each person we manage and, there’s more, we have to ensure that the outcomes meet the needs on both side of that one-on-one partnership too.

If we seem to succeed and they feel let down (the win-lose), they will be less committed, because their needs are not being met. If this goes on for a time, they will feel used and that you are insincere in your words that encourage a close relationship. Trust starts to dissipate and the relationship will break down.

On the other hand, where you meet the needs of the person sitting opposite you and fail to achieve the goals you need to succeed, (the lose-win), the balance tips the other way and the relationship founders because you are not achieving the results that you are measured on.

With win-win, both sides get their very personally driven needs and goals met. The business thrives from successful results achieved and the individuals thrive as well, because their needs are understood and activities aligning them with the business requirements becomes much more effectively delivered too.

Indeed, if the only way you can work is where one side loses, it’s probably best that each side agrees that it isn’t working out and both sides walk away. Truly win-lose and lose-win are, in effect a win for neither side at all, because of the deeper consequences that will affect all.

Manager ‘Wins’

Let’s say a manager gives way a lot on meeting the needs of their team members. He is lax on discipline because the employees want ‘freedom to express themselves’ and gives it away.

This might result, if allowed to impact on deadlines for example, that sales quotas aren’t achieved. The manager could lose their job and individuals get a much worse deal from their new manager.

A classic example of Lose/Win, except in the bigger picture, it isn’t.

Employee ‘Wins’

The alternate view, might be where a manager rarely spends one-on-one time with his people, citing that his schedule is far too tight with the results he has to achieve.

Employees become less committed and the better ones find a new job with a manager much better suited to understanding their own, very individual, needs.

The first manager finds he struggles to achieve the results that the business needs and is challenged on his own performance (and has much less effective staff left behind to help recover).

A great example of a Win/Lose, but it isn’t even that at all.

The challenge for managers and employees is to acknowledge that the other side has to win as well, because a side that is losing is much more likely to have a significantly bigger impact all round.

Filed under Blog by Martin

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