How to Build Effective Working Relationships

 I came across these notes I had taken at some time. I’m not sure if they come from a book I was reading or a presentation I was attending.

Leaders achieve results through the work of others. Interpersonal skills are crucial to the leader’s ability to persuade and motivate both internal and external stakeholders. Effective leaders know how to negotiate with associates and resolve conflicts both formally and informally.

Recognize the importance of sensitivity.

One of the factors that undermine leadership is behaving in ways that are insensitive and uncaring to the needs of others. To be effective, managers must be able to establish working relationships based on trust, respect and caring and be sensitive to the opinions, feelings, and interests of others when communicating with them.

Build relationships informally.

Use informal interactions with your peers, superiors and subordinates as an opportunity to build valuable working relationships. Use common courtesy such as smiling and saying “hello” when you encounter people casually. Treat your coworkers with respect and be non-judgmental in your dealings with them.

Be approachable.

If your employees consider you to be unapproachable, ask yourself what it is you do that creates this feeling. Be wary of behaving as if the suggestions or concerns of your employees are unimportant. Make an active effort to interact informally with your employees. Consider establishing and encouraging the use of an open-door policy.

Make effort to improve poor working relationships.

Consider the peers with whom you work regularly and identify the individuals with whom you have poor working relationships.

  • Identify interpersonal barriers. Identify that get in the way of your working relationships with those individuals and determine how you can remove these barriers. View these problems in the same way you view the other problems you face as a manager; they are a challenge that can and must be overcome.
  • Be willing to adapt. Resolving interpersonal differences requires asking yourself what aspects of the other person’s style can be dealt with by simply acknowledging them and being prepared to face them. Other problems may require an ability to adapt your style when interacting with others. In these situations, it is helpful to take the perspective of the other person and understand their reasons for behaving as they do. In most cases the reasons are neither selfish nor misguided; they are simply unique. Individual uniqueness is the basis of the diversity that is crucial to the adaptability and resilience of any organization.
  • Acknowledge others’ viewpoints. Accept that other people will perceive their views as being as valid as yours and that some individuals will never be completely persuaded to accept your point of view or be willing to compromise.
  • Be a mentor. Be a mentor to a less experienced manager who could benefit from your wisdom and guidance. You have an important role to play in developing and mentoring staff to become leaders.
  • Show appreciation. Continually seek opportunities to show appreciation to others for their work. Acknowledge and credit the contributions of your staff in open forums, as well as in private.
  • Recognize your dependence on others. Remind yourself regularly that you become successful as a leader only to the extent that you help those around you become successful.