There are many different relationships that managers forge in the workplace. Whilst some may seem to be much more important than others, in many ways, every single one is just as important as another.
Managing is a people thing. To get the best from every one of your relationships will require efforts to ensure that everyone with whom you engage is ‘turned on’ to you, in whatever enterprise you are all engaged in.
Whilst these are not the only workplace relationships a manager will be engaged in, they are likely to be the most important, encouraging the environment such that members of the team are focused on getting the job done.
The best managers adopt a consistent strategy for building individual relationships – whether they be with their team members or other relationships they have that impinge on the success – or otherwise – that the team seeks.
This consistency shows that the manager’s behaviors are authentic and really meant, thus providing their people with a sense of trust because the realize that ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ is who their manager is.
With individual team members, there will be a number of different types of interaction from instruction, to delegation; from coaching to managing performance; from discipline to career discussions and more.
When there is a consistency of relationship approach that works well for both sides, the trust created is vital, meaning that a strong bond is already in place to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved with both sides on the same side.
There are other relationships that matter.
It’s a debatable point who is more important, the customer or employee. So let’s suffice to say that both are vital. Interactions and relationship building with customers (or however they are defined in your organization) is a critical step in any successful activity, however large or small.
The time taken to build positive and constructive relationships with each and every valuable customer, is always worthwhile.
In this case, a manager cannot be everywhere at all times, so they have to work even harder to ensure that they have people in their team who will spread their message in all interactions with customers, building the ongoing relationships which will bear fruit in the future – as well as today.
Line Managers and Colleagues
Managers most often have their own manager,s as well as colleagues and a peer group as well. Whilst time spent here might seem less valuable than with customers and their own employees, there is always value in being your best with others who might prove useful in the future.
Although this might seem to be an investment of time that could be spared, the overall concept of workplace relationships is one of consistency, where the behavior of a manager is the same, whoever the interaction is with.
By showing this trait throughout all interactions, the relationships that are built will create added value as employees recognize and replicate those great behaviors themselves.
And the colleagues, line managers and others that fit this category are always worth investing in!
In recent times, the bullying tactics of large organizations with their suppliers, where they are squeezed on price to create the best margins for the buyer, have become seen to be both impractical, immoral and ultimately unsuccessful.
By building win-win relationships with suppliers where they can also be successful, the buyer develops a long-term strategy for ongoing success, not a short-term gain that is unsustainable. Organizations are recognizing that they need to provide for success in the future, rather than a one-time gain and lose ongoing business.
Most organizations have other stakeholders who need to be nurtured for ongoing success. Often these may be hidden or even ignored, where a manager doesn’t see the immediate value. Getting clear on who are stakeholders in any business is critical or the ‘unknowns’ start to grow, which is much less controllable.
Building effective relationships with all stakeholders is important as a minimum and then to pick and choose who is really worth extra cultivation, will be a choice made in relation to what’s needed at the time. The initial relationships that are created are never lost and are always of value. Truth is, you just never know, so it’s best to be ahead of the game – just in case!
The key element to finding, developing and then cultivating relationships is a consistent behavioral approach that is seen to be authentic, because it is.
This can be a challenge to some managers who find relationship building less natural than others and still, it really is worth the effort.