It’s human nature to want to keep our relationships simple. Yet it’s a key leadership task to keep on top of the complex interplay of different relationships. Put simply: our team members, colleagues, bosses and the wider stakeholder network. It’s no wonder people find it difficult.
And of course, all this focus on others means that we neglect our own needs in this complex mix.
One solution is to analyse these groups and assess them by their power, influence or interest in your work. A neat process, but one which doesn’t take human factors into account.
And it’s often in those that things can go horribly wrong. Misunderstandings, lack of acknowledgement or recognition for good work, resentment of others.
Here at Forton, we regularly get asked to design workshops and programmes that help leaders and managers with ‘problem staff’: those ‘difficult conversations’, performance management; or customer relationships.
People typically ask us something like “What can I say when….?”
At the heart of these requests is the desire to have a single solution; a silver bullet. But silver bullets only kill werewolves; sorting out relationships requires a more human approach.
Too often, when we go into organisations with these kinds of issues, we find that the basics for better relationships – at all levels – aren’t in place.
Here are three steps that you can put into place and share today:
Step 1: Make sure managers are putting their own needs first, so that they’re better able to deal with others’ needs too.
An insurance client told us a fascinating statistic recently: dentists who work fewer days each week earn more money. This is because they have better relationships with their patients; plus they make better clinical and business decisions too.
If that’s what we need from our leaders and managers, investing in smarter working – not longer hours – is the easiest and first solution.
Step 2: Ensure that managers and leaders know about the need to give regular acknowledgements of their team’s good work.
People need a higher ratio of praise to criticism than managers typically think. The Gottman Ratio is 6:1 for organisations (5:1 for personal relationships if you want to improve that area of your life).
Step 3: When it’s criticism that’s required, use a consistent feedback model that works – both for the giver, and the receiver of feedback.
The best way to give (and receive) feedback is to make it future-focused around what success looks like. Most people look backwards and focus on what went wrong and who’s to blame.
The other step you can take, is to give your leaders and managers some perspective – and distance from the day-to-day – by investing in a leadership development workshop.
At Forton we change cultures and support leadership development through bite-sized, half-day and week-long events.
Whichever behavioural framework you use in your organisation, our programmes will align with your goals. And if you need to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) evidence, we can show you how.
To experience lasting performance improvements in your organisation, try us out. Attend our next open leadership Ignite event – on 5/6 December in the heart of England.
Or bring this workshop in-house with 6 people or more.
Pick up the phone at +44 (0) 845 077 2980 option 1, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.