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My Top Ten Tips for Building Organisational Relationships

15th February 2018

organisational relationships

Top ten tips on building organisational relationships

The world of work today is more complex than ever. More tasks and processes are outsourced, digitalised, interconnected and often in another part of the world. There are many challenges for you as a leader to manage these situations.It’s easy to loose sight of the relationships that need to be built and maintained to ensure things run smoothly.

Here are my top ten tips to building (and maintaining) organisational relationships:

Top Ten Tips for Building Organisational Relationships

  1. Cultivate a network inside and outside of the organisation. Networks are webs of people bound by a mutual need and compatible goals. They provide support, information, advice and practical help when needed. Identify the networks you are part of. Where are their gaps? Are there any you have been neglecting? What action can you take to exchange ideas and stay in touch with the relationships you already have?
  2. Relate well to bosses, direct reports peers and colleagues. No man is an island! You need to utilise people in different ways to get your job done. If you relate well with them you will know what motivates them and therefore how to engage with them. Be approachable, listen well and give feedback.
  3. Respect and appreciate differences. We are all different. We each bring our history to work (consciously and unconsciously) and we have different perspectives. There are differences in status, expertise, gender, ethnicity and sexuality. Unite people behind a common vision and set of values and play to everyone’s strengths. Build an environment of acceptance and champion diversity.
  4. Recognise and respond to the needs of others. “Seek first to understand then be understood” (Stephen Covey). Learn about other people’s preferences and adapt accordingly. If they need help, do what you can to support them. This doesn’t always mean ‘getting your hands dirty’, advice or a listening ear may be all that is required.
  5. Promote collaboration and remove obstacles. Most initiatives require the cooperation and combined effort of teams across an organisation and, in my opinion, not enough time is put into developing teams. Stand out from the crowd and promote teamwork across the organisation. Find ways to unblock the blockages to getting things done.
  6. Ask for feedback on what blocks or hinders your effectiveness in building relationships. Be courageous! Most leaders are poor at offering up constructive feedback and in asking for it so this is your opportunity to lead the way. Ask people what is important to them about working together. You’ll get some great insight into their values. It’s also a great way to start building a working alliance.
  7. Be consistent and act in ways that demonstrate your beliefs and values. You are on show all of the time and people are watching you all of the time. You therefore need to be consistent in everything you do so be really clear of your values and beliefs and role model what you expect, even under pressure! You set the standards for what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  8. Act to preserve relationships, even under difficult or heated circumstances. Relationships do not stay at a constant level all of the time – if only. Even the closest relationships can be strained at times. I always advise my coachees to at least maintain the relationship at its current level. Ideally you always want to be building a relationship so, when there is a heated exchange, make sure you circle back and affirm the importance of the relationship and if necessary apologise!
  9. Seek to improve how the management team works together. As a leader you are a member of at least two teams, the one you lead and the one your boss leads. These two teams are the ones you can impact on the most. The easiest will be the team you lead. Strengthen the teamwork of your direct reposts and be comfortable with using an external facilitator or coach to help you with this. You are not magically expected to know how to build a team! With your boss encourage him/her to view you as a team and raise issues that require collaboration. Use your colleagues as sounding boards.
  10. Reflect on how you show up – constantly! For me, this is probably most important. One of my founding principles is that you cannot lead and develop others until you first learn to lead and develop yourself. Set aside some time in the week to reflect on how you have shown up as a leader. Where were you amazing? Where could you have done things differently? What will you do to continue to build your reputation and presence.

More leaders derail because they have not developed relationships than because they are technically weak and in today’s work environment it’s easy to become disconnected. What one thing can you do tomorrow to build at least one relationship?

“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” 

Miguel Angel Ruiz 





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