As a leader within your organisation, we all know that healthy positive relationships make the difference. Too often our day-to-day workloads don’t allow us to fully develop these relationships in a positive way. Relationships can become difficult, and trust can erode for many reasons.
Have you fully considered the impact you have with the relationships you create within your teams?
Have you considered what this could mean for your organisation and how better relationships can help to drive success and minimise organisational risk and disruption?
Here are five top tips for cultivating better, healthier, and more meaningful relationships
Know yourself better first.
The relationship we have with ourselves, cultivates better relationships with others. How we talk to ourselves, you know, that inner voice that offers you the self-doubt, the worry, the negativity, is a crucial relationship as it can then impact your behaviours. Emotional intelligence starts with your own self-regulation, this could include many aspects of your emotional self, however, for your team and people that work with you it will firstly start with behaviours that ‘project’ out into the team, habits you aren’t necessarily aware of that ultimately emotionally affect the whole team. It can include our comments and how we say them, body language, attitudes, words that impact on relationships both positively and negatively. Emotional intelligence can go into a whole host of leadership skills, however, your influence is the one that gets noticed first.
Listen more attentively.
Be conscious and allow yourself to be present in the moment. Being conscious of our minds diverting to the next big job that’s nagging you, or the mobile phone that is pinging away in your pocket, or the email you need to write, or the conversation that is happening in close proximity can all distract our focus. If we can filter these distractions and interruptions sufficiently, we can fully engage and start to empathise with the issue, question, discussion in that moment, providing a space for that individual to feel valued, relevant, and heard. Listening is a skill that can be practiced and improved over time. People know and feel when we are doing it well, doing it authentically, and when we’re not.
Personalise your approach
Listening well is without doubt a fundamental leadership skill. Acting on what you listen to, really makes the difference in enhancing trust. Human beings can be complex and messy. Relationships can therefore be complex and messy. Putting people before process means we personalise our approach to help people at their point of need. This will be different for different people. Allowing yourself to exercise good judgement and the freedom to find the best outcomes can make a hugely positive difference in your relationships. These are skills for life, they make a difference and can change lives for the better. We’re not just talking approachable, smiley, eye contact, mirroring body language kind of a way, we mean listening, exploring growth potential, establishing values, emotional self-regulation, compassion, and space to find creative solutions. We don’t have to feel under pressure to find solutions to every issue or facilitate a profound transformational impact in one conversation, we can be patient to move step by step over time. Every conversation and interaction can make a difference.
Not avoiding tricky conversations and relationships
Being proactive and having honest, respectful, and open conversations when relationships feel strained, or become tense is important. The temptation is to avoid such conversations, due to fear of how this may play out and what this might mean for the future relationship. However, we know that avoiding such conversations invariably leads to things becoming even worse. Having a clear sense of personal and professional boundaries and approaching conversations like this in a human, adult and respectful manner can make a huge difference. Being humble to accept the need for learning and improvement, whilst remaining centred on solid personal principles can help steer conversations and relationships in a more positive direction.
Continuous learning and reflection
All relationships are fluid, they evolve with every conversation and are in constant motion. As human beings we are all impacted by our relationships with others in the environments we live and work. Most of this is outside of the direct control of the leader. It can be a tricky balance to hold the space for quality conversations whilst retaining a focus on the needs of the organisation and the quality of work being completed. It is important therefore to allow yourself regular moments for quality reflection. A trusted coach or mentor can help to draw out relevant learning points. There is no such thing as a perfect conversation or relationship. Look for incremental small changes and improvements, aspire to be a little bit better with every new interaction, as this feels more do-able and manageable.
If you would like to develop these high-impact, positive culture building leadership habits and behaviours, enabling you to operate at whole new levels please do reach out for a conversation. It could be the conversation that becomes the catalyst for a whole new chapter in your leadership journey.