Build Relationships

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"The top reason for a leader's failure is the inability or unwillingness to build relationships and a team environment, according to global survey data released by Right Management."

That's the lead from a news release announcing Right Management's latest global management study, titled "Why Global Managers Succeed and Fail." You can download the report itself by clicking here.

For my friend, Elizabeth, growing relationships is just a natural part of life. I'm different, it's easy for me to get wrapped up in the doing and let the relationships go. What Elizabeth does unconsciously, I have to do consciously. Here's what I've learned from a lifetime of trying to do a better job of developing relationships.

Relationships take time. There's no way around it, there's no quick fix, sure-fire program or magic potion. You have to make the time to grow relationships.

Relationships are perishable. You can't stay out of touch for a long time and expect to pick up right where you left off.

You have to grow relationships at retail, one person at a time. That means spending time with people if you want to have a relationship with them.

Conversations help relationships grow. That's how people develop relationships. We talk to each other. I've found that it's important for me to count my conversations. Elizabeth thinks that's silly, but it's the only way I've found to make sure I have the conversations that are the lifeblood of relationships.

Relationships aren't only about transactions. Some of my conversations start about business and then include some personal stuff. Some have no business at all. If you always show up with an agenda, people will figure out that the only reason you're there is for what you can get.

Help people succeed. For years, Zig Ziglar has touted this as the way to success. He's probably right about that. What I know is that helping other people succeed is one important way to develop a relationship, and one that's easy for me to understand. It's also immensely gratifying.

Help people look good. Help people look good to their boss and their friends and everyone in the known world.

Boss's Bottom Line

You may develop relationships naturally like Elizabeth or you may be more like me. Whatever the case you need to do what's necessary to grow relationships.

Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.



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  • 11/29/2011 9:22 AM Laura Schroeder wrote:
    This may be the hardest thing to get right about leadership - it really is about who you know more than what you do. Because you can't DO anything much at that level without the support of who you know. Leaders who try to prove their worth with individual achievements not only don't scale, they also don't get the name recognition and support they need to achieve bigger and better stuff. By extension, the very best leaders do nothing but build relationships and have a vast team of loyal supporters doing all the actual work for them...
    Reply to this
    1. 11/29/2011 9:47 AM Wally Bock wrote:

      Thanks, Laura. I wasn't thinking of things in that way when I wrote the post, so you've given me another perspective. It's surely true that the more and better the relationships you build, the higher the odds that you'll get support when you need it. Thanks for giving me a whack on the side of the head.

      Reply to this
  • 12/10/2011 8:01 PM John Hunter wrote:
    You include many good points here. People talk vaguely about networking and the importance of relationships (or in a negative way the importance of who you know of what you know or do)... but often this leaves someone with little idea of what to do. You provide some good suggestions.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/12/2011 9:11 AM Wally Bock wrote:

      Thanks, John. I hadn't thought about the negative side of relationship comments, the "it's who you know" stuff. Thanks for stirring that into the mix.

      Reply to this
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