Many bosses and leaders don’t focus on building good proactive work relationships. They are in denial, fail to see the value, and sabotage the ability to work well with others.
As a result, bosses and leaders are disappointed in the results when others’ support is required to resolve workplace problems or handle complex customer challenges. Without good work relationships built over time — co-workers and bosses who were ignored or dismissed as necessary — are unavailable or become judgmental, insisting they know what they should have or could have done or how they would have done it!
When Bobby, a middle-level boss, continued to complain about his boss, who was a director, he was instructed by his best friend to hire an executive coach. While he didn’t believe a coach would solve the problem of his boss slashing his quarterly bonuses and failing to provide needed resources, he did it.
The coach outlined a recommendation for Bobby. “Go and have a conversation. Not just any conversation. Have one that will make a positive and real difference. Start building a good work relationship. You don’t have to like him; respect that he is your boss.”
His retort, “If I’d known what you are telling me to do, I never would have hired you.” The coach’s reply, “You did hire me. Now, get it done. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes.”
Bobby did, and the coach was right. The results from his conversation with the boss were phenomenal. He became one of the few people that could get along with the guy.
The bonus result? The president of the company heard about it. Six months later, the president called Bobby. “I heard you’re doing great things. When you’re ready, I want you to run one of my new companies.”
Building good work relationships, especially with difficult team members and bosses, greatly affects your promotability, results, and career options.
Six Tips to Grow Strong Relationships
Good listening skills are crucial! Yes, I know. I mention this a lot. But unless you really listen, the rest of these tips will do you little good!
Take Responsibility for Biases and Judgments. You love to believe that no one knows how you feel about someone. The truth? It shows up in your choice of words, nonverbal gestures, and work assignments. There are many workshops and courses that can help you blast through old thoughts and beliefs and correct poor communication styles that get in the way. Get signed up and participate! (Sitting on the sidelines and pretending to listen makes no difference.)
Respect Others. Stop relying on your excuses for not fully supporting the team goal. For example, if you have trouble hearing others during Zoom meetings, be respectful and turn up the volume on your laptop (it may not be a Zoom issue). If you know you’re experiencing hearing loss, take care of yourself by getting your hearing tested. Using excuses to stop listening or failing to ask good questions hurts your relationships and disrespects your team members.
Get Involved. As a boss and leader, you must stay involved and listen during team meetings, especially when your team and co-workers ask for help and resources. It doesn’t mean you micromanage – unless it’s required. Guiding them to take the initiative, expecting them to talk it out, or requiring accountability builds positive relationships and results.
Ask for Help! Others’ input bolsters relationships or hurts them if you ignore their recommendations. Many bosses and leaders don’t ask for help! Unless they are forced into it. At that point, they have no alternative. And although they’ve asked for help, their egos kick in and make it difficult for others to help (e.g., “I already did that.” or “I don’t see how that will work.”). Remember, asking for help doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills or smarts to do the job. It simply means you’re keeping an open mind that there may be better ideas on achieving your goals, working through factional issues, or seeing the issue from different points of view.
Honor Your Word. Don’t talk about what you’re going to do. Do it! Although everyone likes to believe they have integrity, the truth is that most do not. They make decisions in their own self-interest, fail to follow up and follow through as promised, or don’t believe the rules should apply to them. Start small … but start. Example: Concern: I’m expected to talk 1:1 with my employees. Solution: Set up 1:1 meetings with team members once a month to start. Then, increase as needed. Keep in mind, when you do what you say you’ll do, you will build trust and relationships!
Make Win-Win-Win Decisions. The decisions you make impact others. However, some impacts are less noticeable and will negatively influence the team’s ability to get their work done. To make good decisions, hire an executive coach, ask for help, and listen! The willingness to ensure you’re making the best decisions is your way of honoring your word to your team and company. Thereby building stronger relationships. Then, follow up to determine if the results are what is required. If not, conduct a What Worked?/What Didn’t Work? to determine what was missing.
©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, it always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.
A note from Jeannette: Good work relationships make a big difference in your ability to get things done, make good decisions, and enjoy your job. Sadly, you may overlook critical qualities ensuring your work relationships work! Have questions? Contact me now!
It’s time to get honest and authentic! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes during 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.