Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to the a podcast on Management tools that stressed on building professional relationships. Those words have stuck with me – how well does it describe the relationship between colleagues at the office?! Professional relationships are what every Manager seeks to build between himself and his team and between other peers and colleagues at the work place. Indeed, every professional in any field of work would do well to build a relationship that is built on trust and honesty with other professionals.
Trust is the cornerstone that any relation is built upon and it is trust that every team member looks for in his/ her Manager or leader. The belief that he/ she will look out for their best interests and for that of the team needs to be inculcated and this can only happen over time. Once the trust has been built, nurturing it and maintaining it becomes as important as building it. The faith and belief will need to be reinforced via actions and deeds that show it in action as frequently as possible. History is replete with stories of how the faith has been broken by the people involved and the circumstances surrounding them. Indeed, an example that springs to mind is with the recent case of Micky Arthur, the former Australian cricket team coach who was sacked from his job as coach by the Australian cricket authorities. Mickey Arthur has filed a law suit against Cricket Australia over his dismissal. In his letter to them, he outlined several issues existing within the cricket team and his unpalatable position as the sandwich between the egos of star players. Unfortunately the confidential documents were leaked to the media and Mr. Arthur finds himself in the difficult position of having his personal views being exposed in the public domain. Clearly, the professional relationship between him and Cricket Australia has gone sour.
While the story above is replicated in multiple places across the world in various forms, the underlying trust is the common factor that is compromised which makes it that much more important to build it in the team! It is not surprising then that a team that trusts its leader and places their faith in each other has a better chance at success than another that is always second guessing the motives and intentions of theirs.
As a leader, one needs to take action and show that he/ she means business – even in building professional relationships. The “lead” in leader means that the person must take the lead in building trust via deeds that show his/ her caring for the team. Spontaneous acts of kindness are a good place to begin with. Awareness of the team’s likes and dislikes and demonstrating this awareness at appropriate times helps. Regular interactions reinforce the beliefs and acting on items in follow-ups are also important. Communicate frequently, regularly and candidly. The more you do, the more trustworthy you are and the easier it is achieve desired results!