How well do the people on your team work together? Do people seek out one another’s advice or input? Do they value the other members of the team and do they appreciate how their colleagues can support them to succeed? Now reflect on the impact the quality of relationships across your business has on the results you are able to achieve.
For many CEOs, the biggest opportunity for improved performance lies in the relationships across the organisation. The simple truth is, when people trust and respect one another, they are more likely to be open, supportive and committed to the team’s objectives. Leaders are wise to take a deliberate approach to influencing the strength of relationships and therefore the ability for people to thrive together.
The most important steps a leader can take to influence strong connections and collective performance include:
Create a shared vision
Help people to understand the ways in which they need to collaborate in order to achieve shared objectives. Expect every manager to lead by example and demonstrate commitment to the whole team’s success.
Build a healthy workplace culture
Create an environment in which people want to work because they like their colleagues and appreciate the value they bring. Foster a team culture in which people choose to behave in ways that have a positive impact on the wellbeing and success of every member of the team. Ensure people feel free to share their ideas, challenge one another and contribute to the organisation’s thinking.
Choose carefully the people you invite to join your team. Place priority on ensuring they bring a collective mindset. People who adopt an individualistic mindset are likely to undermine cohesion and collaboration. Assess how they are likely to behave as part of the group, not only when things are going well but especially when challenged or under pressure. Only ever promote to leadership roles the people who consistently demonstrate the values and behaviours you want to encourage.
Irrespective of how healthy a culture or strong a relationship, at times things can go wrong. Even the best of friends can at times find themselves engaged in conflicts they find difficult to navigate through.
Recognise when members of your team are struggling to relate to one another or move past disagreements. Encourage open, honest, respectful discussion about conflicts. Expect all parties concerned to remain focused on reaching a resolution that allows for effective working relationships to be re-established.
Encourage every member of your team to live by these essential principals of effective relationship building:
Both character and competence influence the extent to which people are willing to trust. Successful relationships demand that we not only earn trust but that we also be willing to give trust. Unfounded scepticism or a closed mind are likely to undermine the strength of any relationship.
Be a team player
To make any relationships work, both parties need to do their part. Put simply it takes two to tango. Encourage people to make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and preferences. Expect that they bring their ideas and opinions together and remain open minded to one another’s point of view.
A lack of sincerity is one sure way to undermine trust and respect. Help people to understand why connecting with a particular colleague matters to the success of their role and the business. Encourage that they focus on the value of the relationship and they’re more likely to present as having a genuine interest in engaging.