This article is the last in our series on the Professional Growth Wheel™. This month we focus on the Relationship Development segment.
We have talked about strategically expanding your internal network, but today we focus on cultivating and deepening those relationships. We spend 1/3 of our life at work, so let’s make it productive and engaging. Strong relationships help you get stuff done – and enjoy yourself in the process.
To build strong work relationships, focus on:
- Be someone people can rely on. Honoring your commitments and meeting deadlines demonstrates you are trustworthy and a team player.
- Offer assistance to others when they need it, and show them you have their back.
- Respect and inclusion
Value what each person brings and recognize the benefits that diverse backgrounds, thoughts and perspectives provide to create a stronger and more innovative end-result.
- Ratchet up your Emotional Intelligence.
- Recognize your strengths and weaknesses,
- Recognize your emotions and the resulting impact you have on others.
- Also listen and learn how to handle the emotional needs of others.
- Create an open flow of communication to ensure everyone is up-to-date and has the information they need to contribute.
- When there are communication missteps, as there will be, address them quickly to avoid conflict.
- Communicate what you need from others, and ask/listen to what others need. This is especially true with cross-functional relationships, where goals may be different and even misaligned.
As a manager, building strong relationships with your employees is key to retaining them and eliciting high performance.
A Gallup poll found that a manager alone can account for up to 70% of a team’s engagement!
To build strong relationships with your direct reports, start by having regularly scheduled one-on-ones. This is a time not only to discuss deliverables, but also to get to know each of them personally. Understand who they are and what is important to them – family, travel, sports, whatever. Sharing what is important to you will also help to build that bond.
You want engaged employees – high engagement has been shown to drive customer satisfaction and increased profitability.
Gallup found that employee engagement increased nearly 50% when employees have close relationships at work.
Besides building your relationship with your employees, what can you do to ensure strong relationships among your employees?
- Provide opportunities for the team to get to know each other on a personal level.
Team building activities, volunteer days and an occasional meal together help to build strong connections.
- Be a role model and reinforce collaboration.
Help them know what good collaboration looks like and call it out when you see it.
The case for building solid working relationships is strong, both for your enjoyment and engagement and to drive results. But like everything else that is worthwhile, it takes time and attention. You need to be intentional and allocate time to do it.
I would like to leave you with this interesting poem (just an excerpt) by Amanda Gorman:
The Miracle of the Morning
“We’ll observe how the burdens brave by humankind / Are also the moments that make us humans kind / Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer/ Heeding the light before the fight is over. / When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing / In testing times, we became the best of beings."
- Emerald Works (2021) Mindtools.com [Mobile App], Building Good Working Relationships
- Prossack, Ashira. “Four Ways to Build Stronger Workplace Relationships.” Forbes Blog. March 30, 2021