Working with a senior leadership team this week was an eye opening experience. Although the organization is fairly technical in nature and usually focuses on end results, we began an important discussion on how to create stronger work connections. It seemed that although employees were performing well, there was not a great deal of camaraderie. In fact, what was happening was that the team leaders were only socializing with themselves and spent little time getting to know their team members. As a result, deeper work relationships were not being formed. Younger and newer team members were feeling unappreciated.
Why should senior leaders care about new workers coming up through the ranks? Why is it necessary to be approachable senior leaders? Why should it matter if senior leadership connects with younger leaders?
Six benefits of making relationships a priority:
1. IT BUILDS TRUST
According to Patrick Lencioni in “The Five Dysfunctions of A Team”, trust is at the base of any team structure. Without trust a team cannot survive. One critical way to cultivate trust among team members is by getting to know one another and spending time with each other. When leaders make relationships a priority they build trust. What are some ways to build trust?
- Go out to lunch or have coffee with team members
- Ask team members what’s going on outside of work
- Share a story of a misstep
- Ask what else they may want to be involved in
When leaders make relationships a priority they build a culture of trust.
2. IT CREATES HIGHER PERFORMANCE
When there are strong relationships with senior leaders and team members, people will want to come through and work their hardest. Think about how you might feel putting in more time if you have a personal connection with your senior leader.
3. IT DEVELOPS A CULTURE OF LEARNING
When leaders build stronger relationships more growth and learning will occur because there will be more open mindedness. In many of my programs, leaders have shared the power of reverse mentoring where different generations gain skills from each other. Taking the time to sit down with team members of all levels enables a cross pollination of knowledge and ideas.
4. IT IMPROVES THE COMMUNICATION FLOW
Since there are so many different communication styles in the workplace it is essential for senior leaders to get to know how their team members prefer to receive information and process it. Assessments such as Myers-Briggs and DiSC are just two helpful ways to discover an individual’s unique communication style. And once identified, it can be used to deepen a relationship. When we spend time talking and brainstorming together, senior leaders are forging more than just a relationship- they are building a committed team.
5. IT DEVELOPS FUTURE LEADERS
Leadership is all about cultivating new leaders and maintaining strong relationships will feed right into that. Some great ways to help emerging leaders think about their future is to ask them:
- What do you like best in your current role?
- What job responsibilities would you give up if you could?
- What strengths are you not utilizing in your job today?
- How can I help be an advocate for you?
Building strong work relationships helps leaders develop future leaders.
6. IT SENDS THE MESSAGE- “WE CARE”
When senior leaders make relationship building a priority they are sending the message that their team members are making valuable contributions. They are putting the needs and concerns of their teams front and center. When people feel that they are making a difference and adding value to the bottom line they will become strong ambassadors for their organization. And that is the greatest benefit of all.
What benefits have you discovered from making relationships a priority? Please connect with me if you need help in making relationships a priority in your team or organization.
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