workplace relationship

February 23, 2010

How Workplace Relationship Building Solves Problems Best

Problems are a part of any manager’s day. They come at us thick and fast, providing challenges on many levels. With your team, many of these can be fixed.

With the full involvement and collaboration of your team – even better – many can be solved for good…

They say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, because two minds working together will be able to create a better solution – one that is generally much more effective.

One of the purposes of creating active relationships with our people, is to ensure that we have every opportunity to make the most of thinking together.

Partnerships will generate more and better ideas that can be instrumental in delivering successes much more effectively.

Where – as managers – we spend the time with our people, both one-on-one as well as with our teams, we create the environment that is effectively a safe place to become much more creative.

As we listen carefully to our people – making the effort to hold back with our own ideas to let them come forward with their own – they begin to show their strengths. Often hidden from us, as their confidence develops, we see them demonstrate their full capabilities.

By developing a level of trust and respect that lets them open up willingly, our people take up the challenges we set before them, creating a sense of purpose that will drive them on – with their colleagues – to much more effective solutions.

As managers we are able to spend our days fire-fighting and coming up with sticking-plaster solutions that work for us in the short-term. This makes problems go away for a while, but these are intrepid critters and have a habit of keeping coming back.

When we create strong relationships with our people, they get involved too, sharing their own wisdom which you have nurtured when you are with them. And this enables far better, deep-reaching solutions – not fixes – that make problems go away for good.

We use the relationships we encourage, to make the differences we need, to make our management both much more effective, as well as easier for the best solutions we seek.

The time we invest in our people creates the returns that we seek, above and beyond like-for-like. Using the leverage of many minds on the problems we together face, we maximize the value we create.

Relationship building is two-way, with your people enjoying value from it as well. The returns you appreciate by making this effort are unlimited, because you just don’t know what abilities your people will come up with.

Finding purpose to building relationships is not hard and what can be delivered using you and your interpersonal skills probably cannot be overestimated – after all, you have amazing people around you.

Your job is to get their potential out in the open and exposed, helping you provide lasting solutions to the problems and issues that you have before you.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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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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January 23, 2010

Workplace Relationship Building – The Purpose of Openness

The relationships that managers have with their people are vital for success. Where fruitful interactions happen, there needs to be a level of trust to enable as much sharing as possible.

And openness is the key.

When we want to get the best from our employees, we have to make the effort to get to know them better. It has to be a two-way process to help them feel comfortable with you, so that opening up is an easy step for them.

Getting to know them well, includes giving them an understanding of what you are about too. By sharing just a little of your inner self, you will encourage them to be more open too. There’s no need to go too far with this. No need to overwhelm them with the problems you face, until you feel able to and when you know it is appropriate and it will be valuable – on both sides.

These levels of relationships are very intimate and with that comes responsibilities such as confidentiality, understanding and support as the very least.

Being open with you, their boss, can create vulnerabilities and sensitivities that you need to realize is an honor, because people do not let just anyone under their skin. It has to be earned and respected.

When you are open with people, you share your innermost self with them. When your team members feel safe enough to do so, the openness they offer needs to be reciprocated, so that they know that it is the relationship that is valuable, both ways, such that trust and win-win are the expected outcomes.

In the overall concept of workplace relationships’ the purpose of encouraging openness is to create and expand that bond between you both, such that each recognizes the value of the other in that pairing. Sharing a little of yourself with your people will be incredibly encouraging for them.

Being ‘human’ and one-to-one with people – in itself – is a huge step towards openness. The time you take to create the space for the interaction is an indication that you value them as an individual. That you respect their needs as well as see them as a significant contributor.

As this evolves, they will share more deeply their thoughts about their work. They will start to tell you that they have aspirations; that they struggle a little. The value of developing this openness between you is not just that you find out more about your people either.

Where you share your own challenges openly, you may be surprised at the offers of contributions to support you that you can generate. Openness is simply not about one-way traffic, it engenders togetherness through trust, working together to help and develop each other, irrespective of hierarchy.

And openness starts with you, their manager encouraging it through the model you show them, and the way your behaviors bring it on.

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

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January 11, 2010

Workplace Relationship Building – Getting Out Of Your Own Way

Effective relationships with team members is vital for managers to deliver the very best results. Yet one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is quite close to home.

As managers need their people to be fully productive, it is vital that they nurture the strongest of working relationships with them. Every individual has particular skills to offer and to make the most of this, their full commitment to the cause is vital.

This can be challenging for some managers to work through, with them believing that as manager, their role is superior to their people and they will lead the way – and deliver it – at all times, even when it’s almost impossible to carry the workload output required.

Good managers overcome the challenge that their own high level of self-importance can present. By being able to see the bigger picture of the needs of the team to create results, the best managers recognize that rather than them being the most important in the team, the contrary is true. Their people are where the vital energy and competence needs to lie.

Appreciation of their role as a facilitator, managers who get the best results simply know that they will only deliver strongly when they get the best from every individual they have as a colleague. So they will focus on working much harder at building motivation and collaboration with their people than by trying to show their higher level of authority.

Managers who cannot get past their own ego, pride and ‘position’, will always find the going tough, because their role is never to be the ‘doers’, whatever their personal drive is.

The best managers see their role purely as leveraging the great skills of their people. Indeed really good managers recruit people who are even more capable than they are, without any concerns about doing so.

They have been able to get over their own self-doubt and moved past that, knowing that the better they are at being a humble partner in their team, the more likelihood there is of success. Employees relate to the manager who is on a par with them and are more productive in that situation.

So many managers struggle to get beyond their own self-importance to take the time to create the valuable working relationships where they are as equal partners as possible, yet this is precisely the requirement of the role.

By investing some time building relationships with individuals in a carefully structured way, the more successful managers set their stall out to be doing everything possible to squeeze the best performance from the capable people they have.

This only comes from intimate working relationships that create trust and a following that is hard to pin down, yet is so very powerful and ultimately fruitful.

And the biggest challenge to overcome is so often the manager themselves.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Managing Me by Martin

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