All leaders know that the quality of their leadership depends on the quality of their relationships. Yet, many lack clarity on maintaining and improving these valuable sources of information, comradery, and partnerships. Leaders know good working relationships produce better results, more fun, and increased job satisfaction. (Yes, even for the introverts reading this.)
But in professional relationships, we all have blind spots. Yet few of us take advantage of learning what they are and how to overcome them because we think we already know what they are. Do you see the irony? So let me help you: You have no idea what your blind spots are. That’s why they are called blind spots … they are blind to you. But they get in the way of others having a good working relationship with you!
7 Essential Tips to Improve Your Relationships
- Be Present. This is one of the most important yet overlooked ways to improve relationships. When in conversation, be present. Set aside distractions and mental chatter. It tells others, “They matter.”
- Listen. Just listening without responding makes a significant difference in people feeling comfortable talking with you. However, believing it’s not worth your time to listen causes future problems. Remember, failure to listen to a team member takes a mushroom-size issue and makes it an immovable mountain! After listening, be curious and ask questions (e.g., “Tell me more.” “Why is this important?” “How can I help?”)
- Apologize. Yes, this is a difficult one for many leaders (think, ego.) When you’ve upset someone or failed to honor your word (think, excuses), it’s time to apologize. All you need to say is, “I apologize.” Then, change the bad habit or forgetfulness that caused the issue.
- Stop Being Annoyed. Yes, this is a hard one. But the following exercise does work. (I know because I’ve used it!) First, write down three to five things that annoy you. Now, stop allowing yourself to be annoyed when these happen!
- Forgive Others. Holding onto grudges and being offended only hurts you! Talk it out with one trusted ally to gain perspective. Then, forgive yourself for being human and know that not everyone will like you as their leader. But, as the leader, you are responsible for creating a workable relationship with each and every team member. (Not the other way around. So, get to it!)
- Hire a Coach. Yes, the right coach can help you work through those “sticky-stuck” situations and politically charged relationships. So hire the right coach today and get the year off to a great start!
- Bridge the Communication Gap. I’ve found this an easy way to get people on the same page and talking with one another. First, use a qualified job fit assessment tool that provides objective information (not the type of assessment that shows how you want to be seen). For many years, I’ve used the granddaddy of objective job-fit assessment products: PXT Select. Example: I received a letter from two clients that needed to bridge a growing communication gap. They said, “I thought I knew the person. Yet, I discovered the other person wasn’t who I thought he was.” Remember, these assumptions and trying to be someone you’re not will always get in the way of building solid and effective relationships.
©Jeannette Seibly 2023 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She’s celebrating 30 years as an award-winning international executive consultant, speaker, and coach. Her clients value the listening and positive difference she brings to any conversation. Feel stuck in a sticky situation or a challenging relationship? Want straightforward counsel to blast through it? Contact Jeannette for a confidential discussion. PS: She’s also a three-time Amazon Best-Selling Author!
A note from Jeannette about relationships that work: I observed a situation where a team member let another team member ‘have it.’ A third team member, watching the interaction, leaned over and whispered to me, “This is why I like doing things on my own and not being part of a group of people.” I’m sure this has happened to you. And maybe you’ve expressed the same sentiment. But the truth is, as a leader, you must work with and through others to build strong relationships. So address that complicated relationship now. Contact me to resolve it now before it gets worse because they usually do.
Listen to the Building Relationships in Your Business with my guest, Marsha Haygood, on The Entrepreneurial Leader.