How to build business relationships
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The lost art leaders need to master
When was the last time you sat down with someone important to you, away from the distractions of work, TV and your smartphone and re-connected?
Enjoying a good conversation and relationship with someone you value releases a chemical called oxytocin, often labelled the love hormone. A major bonus of this chemical is that it facilitates bonding and acts as a buffer against stress, anxiety and depression. Who knew conversation could be so good for you!
This begs the question, is conversation becoming a lost art? Have we let technology and all its benefits blind us to something fundamentally important that can help us lead our businesses through these complex and ever-changing times?
I don’t have enough time!
One of the most common objections we hear is “I just don’t have the time!”. Do we really not have the time to sit down, talk and connect with the people that really matter? We have 24-hours in a day and its recommended we sleep for 7 hours, that gives us 17 waking hours. The issue isn’t a lack of time, it’s what we do with it that matters!
Studies suggest productivity is one of our biggest challenges. Lost productivity costs UK businesses £19 billion per annum, approximately 50% of staff time and effort are wasted.
To make matters worse it’s estimated that senior leaders know only about 5% of what’s really going on in their business, their managers only about 15% and team leaders about 50%. The remainder of their staff know about 90% but all too often no one asks them for their view. No one sits down and has a conversation with the people on the front-line. They often have valuable insight, ideas and suggestions and know your business issues inside and out because they face them every single day.
What’s the solution?
You need to question how you lead your business from the top down. You need to develop trusting, respectful and authentic relationships with your employees. Do something different.
Jill Ellis – Manager of the USA women’s football team – made headlines in her first few months as manager by making some tough calls after a crushing defeat to Sweden. Ellis could see the old culture of the team was creating a bitter and fragile team. So, she changed things up. She got rid of some veterans, added young talent and shuffled positions around where she could see potential. She received a lot of criticism for these moves at the time.
Ellis could have stuck with what she got dumped with but instead, she did something different and attempted to reconnect and rebuild her team. Ellis said “it’s about connecting with my players and understanding the fabric of the people I work with. It’s also having a direction, a focus of where you’re taking this team. And the final thing is that I’m always humble enough to keep coming back to self-reflection, fine-tuning, honing, taking the things I like and moving forward.” Since then she has led her team to a stunning victory winning the 2019 world cup.
People-focused leadership is vital. It is not about being soft and fluffy. It’s about taking the time and effort to listen to your people. To connect with them, demonstrate some empathy and compassion and coach them rather than instruct them.
This approach gives you two huge wins. It addresses productivity issues and greatly improves employee wellbeing. Taking the time to listen to your team will reward you tenfold.
Where do I start?
This depends on you and your business. Do you and your team need to challenge mindset issues around effective use of time? Do you need to nurture authentic trusting relationships? Do you need to develop coaching skills into your leadership and management practice? Do you and your team understand the diversity of thinking preferences that exist? Do you and your team practice effective habits?
We believe driving growth in your business requires an approach to leadership and management that includes all these things.
To contact us and find out more about people-focused leadership, please click here.