In the modern employment world, anyone would be hard pressed to manage effectively without interacting closely with other people, be they their own team, colleagues, line managers and customers, yet so often, this does not happen.
In the majority of situations, where any form of work activity takes place, the most important role a manager has is the ability to create just the right levels of relationships with each one of their team. And that’s where the vital ability to learn and nurture this skill comes in.
One of the most under-valued and unrecognised skills any individual can have is the ability to create useful relationships. This is not the preserve of the workplace alone, of course. Many of us know people who we just seem to get on well with.
This is no fluke. These individuals have learnt, often unwittingly, that they have the knack utilizing those interpersonal skills that either come naturally or they have actively developed in themselves.
Whilst this might seem to be particularly important for a manager to have and use with those individuals who work closely with and for them, the relationship building skills that ordinary employees can develop will be vital for them too, both with colleagues who are their peers as well as to make the most of their relationship up the line (more of this later!).
Many managers see their role most precisely defined by delivering targets and goals. By the results and numbers that are the tangible demonstration of success or failure. And of course, there is an attraction in the short-term world in which we live to be focused on the end-result, achieved as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The real truth is, however success is to be achieved, managers cannot do it alone, so the capability to use people skills to build effective relationships with at least the majority of their team is vital – many would say fundamental – to have any chance of success.
It is such a truism that managers ‘don’t manage things, they manage people’, yet many managers don’t make the often quite minimal investment of time needed to create effective relationships with their people. Indeed, they often spiral into overwhelm as they absorb the activities of their people and do the work they need not do if they had made that investment and made their relationships work much more effectively.
Relationship building is probably the most important activity for any manager – and yet it’s not restricted to them alone. Employees can develop their own skills to create effective working relationships too, making the difference for their engagement, motivation and not forgetting their potential and opportunity to develop and progress their career.
For those unfortunates who have managers who simply cannot appreciate the value that effective workplace relationships bring, they have an opportunity to take the lead and drag, kicking and screaming even, managers into the fold, such that effective business happens, even if it is ‘bottom up’!
Remember the key points – Be Proactive; Recognize the Value and above all, Create the Time to build those Effective Relationships!
(c) 2010 Martin Haworth, Business and Management Coach and trainer, is the author of Super Successful Manager!, an easy to use, step-by-step weekly development program for managers of EVERY skill level. Find out more at http://www.SuperSuccessfulManager.com.