To build strong relationships we know that trust is essential. If you would like to learn more about building relationships with trust I would suggest reading my article called, “Build Better Relationships”. But the questions which remain are: what do we do once the relationships have been established, how do we maintain them, and how can we make sure people are open to establishing new relationships with us? This article is going to answer these questions for us!
Relationships are complex things because there are so many varieties of relationships. There are casual relationships, romantic relationships, and professional relationships amongst others. We are going to discuss professional relationships for the purpose of this article.
Professional relationships have their own subset of relationships as well which include, but are not limited to relationships such as subordinates, mentors, consultants, and authority. It’s important for managers to build strong and lasting relationships with their staff. But that doesn’t go without saying that is takes a bit of work on our part to maintain them.
We should make sure there is a clear understanding of what the relationship is. It is safe to say that anyone can find themselves in hot water quickly when the intentions of a relationship are misunderstood.
This doesn’t mean that as leaders we need to become reserved and remove ourselves from any involvement with our staff. Certainly that would not do well to improve or maintain trust. It is important however that we understand how to interact with each person as an individual.
Each individual is going to have their own characteristics that we should be sensitive to while still articulating to our staff what is expected of them. Some people react differently to different forms of communication and communication styles.
Whether we are directing, coaching, supporting or delegating, we should always remain conscious of the effects our communication is having on the people around us. Remember communication isn’t just what you say; it is often how your actions are interpreted as well.
Make sure you are behaving in a way to match what you are communicating to the staff. It sure wouldn’t make much sense to release a message to the staff about the death of a team mate and then be seen joking and laughing shortly after that. Of course this example is a little extreme, but I believe it illustrates the point. As leaders we have to be sensitive to how people not only hear and see us, but how we are perceived as well.
Let’s talk about perception. Some people will say and truly believe that perception is reality and it is this reality that often affects the judgment people have on us before entering a relationship with us. Although there is certain truthfulness to this, it should not be a catch phrase which is taken to extreme.
As leaders we do need to be careful how people perceive us but there are also going to be times when these perceptions should be managed either proactively or reactively depending on the circumstances.
Did you ever hear the phrase “be careful not to burn bridges”? Well this is something we need to think about before doing anything. As leaders we cannot be sure who our next employee, manager or potential customer might be. So we should always be sure to behave and communicate in as positive and professional a manner as possible.
By conducting yourself appropriately in all matters there is a higher chance of people viewing you as someone they would be open to a relationship with.
So remember these points:
- Establish what type of relationship is being formed
- Be aware of how individuals react to your communication styles
- Make sure your behavior matches your communication
- Be conscious of how others perceive you
- Build bridges, don’t burn them, anyone could be the next relationship