Your Management Relationships – Getting Along Purposefully Rather Than by Accident
Monday, December 4th, 2017
During my work coaching over 100 leaders, managers, and executives in the last three years I am struck with the frequency of relationships with various levels of dysfunction. I commonly see misunderstanding, poor communication, ambiguity, and conflict all of which contribute to ineffectiveness and dissatisfaction.
The underlying cause in many cases can be attributed to having allowed the relationship to start and function on a series of assumptions about what they ‘think’ should be managed and communicated. The perplexing part for them surfaces after they realise the relationship is not working well and do not understand why!
A senior manager I was coaching very recently summarised it beautifully:
“two people dancing around with blindfolds on – trying to avoid each bumping into each other and getting cross when they do have a minor collision”.
She then nailed it stating:
“we seem to be getting along accidentally rather than purposefully”.
My conversations have drawn out the underlying reason; the executives and managers who work together had not explicitly gained a clear understanding on how they should go about doing business together from the very beginning of their working relationships.
That is their ‘agreed ways of working’
My challenge is “how will you go about making sure you have established working relationships that are based on mutual understanding, credibility and respect?”
(Credibility and respect are the core components of trust).
In order to bring clarity to your agreed ways of working a whole host of factors need to be considered such as:
- How people want to be recognised, the style of their decision making, timing and expectations?
- Your role, responsibilities and degree of autonomous decision making?
- When to approach and how (time, means etc.)?
- How direct will you be?
- How to brief or be briefed?
- Should information given in a briefing be limited to an overview, with options to resolve, plans and outcomes?
- Will you have to give lots of detailed information or no detail?
- Timing and (most importantly), the content your one to ones (please avoid using them just to discuss BAU (business as usual)).
- How will you ensure that when you meet you both have enough time to talk about yourselves, your achievements, development, goals, ambitions and how you both envision the future?
- How will you deal with conflict?
- When to be copied in on an email, and very importantly when not!
- Coaching each other not to ‘bring me your problems, please bring me your solutions’
- Performing a simple health check with each other by asking “how well are we working together?”
This approach will ensure healthy, open and transparent internal business relationships. Consider how you could apply this as well to managing stakeholders, internal and external customers, vendors etc.?
As you change roles due events such as secondments, promotions or new assignments check in with the relevant managers and stakeholders to renew your agreements with them. It is equally as important to do this with new connections and relationships, as it is in situations where you continue to work the with same people. The reason being your role and responsibilities have changed, therefore the dynamics have also changed. If you assume everything remains the same you run the risk of the relationship hitting a rocky patch. My blog entitled ‘‘Your Workplace Compass’ takes this subject into a deeper perspective.
In closing this blog, let me ask you a question…