Why Are Good Relationships Important?
No man is an island. We human beings are naturally social creatures.
When our relationships at work are positive, we are happier and more productive.
We are also more likely to go along with changes happily and are more passionate in our daily work.
Good relationships with our customers, suppliers and key stakeholders are all essential to our personal & organisational success.
This article is designed to provide guidance for executives, managers, and specialists, who are involved in leading the strategic direction of their organisations.
We look at the approach that successful leaders must take in order to create, maintain, and nurture positive relationships with colleagues, suppliers, customers, partner organisations, and other stakeholders.
#1 Maintaining High Standards Of Personal Behaviour
The rationale is that the leader must aspire to be a role model for high standards of personal behaviour.
They must be ethical, be honest, be genuine so that they are ultimately trusted by colleagues and stakeholders.
This means maintaining high standards of personal beliefs; behaving with integrity and fairness; showing respect and sensitivity for the views of others.
Ensuring that all relevant people are kept informed of plans, decisions, and progress; pro-actively seeking positive relationships.
Even if the leader is required to carry out actions that have an unpalatable impact, the aim is to carry out such actions in an as honest, open, and sympathetic manner as possible.
Thus, observers, even those most negatively affected, will not be able to accuse the leader of unacceptable personal behaviour.
#2 Establishing Supportive Communication Systems
By establishing training programmes that develop individual and team communication skills is a way to support collaboration and cooperation between internal and external individuals and groups.
This ensures key information reaches appropriate people in a timely manner.
Encourage consultative and participative decision making at all levels.
You build positive relationships by actually talking and listening effectively to people.
Systems and approaches described here are essential foundation blocks on which positive relationships can be built and developed.
Without this underlying framework in place, information will be dissipated and misinterpreted, decisions will be based on inadequate information, and relationships will deteriorate.
# 3 Promoting Values and Standards
By consulting with specialists, individuals & teams to identify and establish appropriate values and standards for the organisation.
This helps in providing guidance on values and standards that is understood at all levels.
Ensuring that all external partners are made aware of the organisation’s values and standards.
Implement policies and procedures that manage, monitor, and improve the quality of values and standards at all levels.
When established values and standards have not been maintained, it is important to take prompt action.
The objective here is to ensure that all working relationships are built and developed against a background of known values and standards.
All parties are made aware that the quality of internal and external relationships is an important aspect of the organisation’s approach to these.
For example, office politics and 'gossip' are major relationship killers at work. Gossiping causes mistrust and animosity.
Prompt action such as directly talking to the parties involved help discourage spreading unnecessary negativity.
# 4 Gaining The Trust of Colleagues
By consulting with colleagues in an open and honest manner; keeping colleagues appropriately informed about decisions, plans, actions, and progress & providing colleagues with sufficient personal support will build trust.
Honouring commitments made to colleagues; treating colleagues with respect and with appropriate confidentiality also go a long way to establishing credibility.
Leaders should work with colleagues in a way which demonstrates the leader’s commitment to the values and standards of the organisation, and in a manner which demonstrates to colleagues that they have the respect and support of their leader.
This is vital in enabling the leader to draw the best performance from colleagues, and for those colleagues to achieve their personal performance targets.
#5 Evaluate Relationship Performance
Establishing monitoring procedures which include scheduled evaluation review points & insisting that evaluation reviews are carried out even though the relationship appears to be healthy is key.
Taking appropriate corrective action to address problems while adopting a continuous improvement approach to all internal and external relationships will ensure that the quality of relationships is high on the quality assurance agenda of the organisation.
Regular and thorough assessments of the condition of relationships are vital.
Without these evaluations and appropriate corrective action, many relationships will deteriorate.
Some will linger in a poor condition, causing a constant flow of minor difficulties, some will implode and cause major problems.
These problems can be avoided by a regular health-check on each set of relationships followed by appropriate action.
The health of the relationships between team members is key to your organisation's performance.
Just as the organisation’s leaders must maintain, develop, and continuously improve the quality of its physical resources, its marketing performance, its financial health, and so on, the leaders must also take the same approach to working relationships between themselves and others.
For the organisation to achieve its operational targets and strategic objectives, it is essential that all working relationships are healthy, productive and continuously improving.
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