Research Paper By Sunil Chhibar
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
Better working relationships create trust and collaboration. This translates into better performance leading to enhanced productivity. Good working relationships make working enjoyable and fulfilling. Since the teams enjoy doing their work they are more cooperative and space thus created becomes instrumental in encouraging creativity and innovation. This results in focusing on more opportunities with the synergy thus created.
Developing strong relationships helps in building highly engaged teams. It gives a boost to our career growth, enables us to work better with customers, suppliers, stakeholders.
1. Emotional Intelligence:
In his book Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman cites the Harvard Business School research that determined that EQ counts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be successful. Emotional Intelligence enables human beings to become aware of their emotions and understand the impact of these emotions on themselves and others. Emotionally intelligence empowers people and guides their thinking and behaviour when dealing with others.
Given below are some strategies you can use to develop your emotional intelligence:
Observe your thoughts while you are interacting with others. Understand your thinking patterns while you are interacting with others. Choose consciously to be more open to their perspectives and needs.
Nurture the trait of Humility:
By practising humility you will be able to nurture and empower your team. Humility will enable you to be consciously aware of what you did and be quietly confident about it.
Be willing to assess what you need to do with regards to self-development. Ask yourself if you are willing to accept that you can make yourself a better person? Be honest and authentic while performing self-evaluation.
No matter what the trigger is, do practice to stay calm in difficult situations. Do not let yourself be emotionally hijacked. This is a highly valued trait in all situations.
Take ownership and be responsible:
People are more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right. Therefore staying in a space of honesty, accountability, responsibility and ownership is highly essential.
Notice the impact of your actions:
Develop the ability to get into the shoes of the other person. View your actions from others’ perspectives. Understand how your behaviour is impacting them. In the case that you are negatively impacting others, find ways to help them to deal with the effects of your actions.
2. Active listening
Use these five key active listening techniques to help you to become a more effective listener:
Give the speaker your undivided attention removing any likely distraction. Create a space where the other person feels heard and understood. Recognize non-verbal communication too.
Listen intently not only to the words, but also the emotions and thoughts being reflected by the person. Use mirroring, paraphrasing, asking open-ended questions to check your understanding of what the person is conveying to you.
Active and intent listening encourages an enhanced understanding of the other person. It enables us to accept what the other person is conveying, without any confrontation.
Be fully present:
Make use of your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged. Stay present, smile and make use of simple facial expressions like smile etc.
Stay quiet and attentive:
Do not interrupt when someone is talking. This makes the speaker feel upset and uncomfortable and his/her message might not be understood. Allow the person to complete each point before asking your questions.
3. Conflict Management
Organisations are a breeding ground of conflicts:
No matter how strong the relationship is, one does get caught up in disagreements or arguments. Whenever such a situation arises to make sure to treat the other person with respect and courtesy and discuss matters constructively.
Separate people from problems:
Understand others and avoid labelling them as ‘difficult people’ They might be facing real challenges and could have real and valid concerns. Learn to separate people from their issues. To maintain healthy work relationships learn to focus on the issue and not the person. This empowers people to talk about their problems without upsetting their relationships.
Establish the facts:
Learn to take decisions on the observable evidence. First invest your time, energy and resources to establish the facts. This might impact your decisions.
First, be a listener:
Consciously listen to what the other person is saying before getting into a defensive mode. A piece of new information might come up that might shift your perspective. It would be advisable to look at options together. Stay open to the perspectives of others so that you can reach a joint decision.
4. Trust and Collaboration
Initiating a culture of trust and collaboration eventually results in a highly engaged team capable of high performance and productivity.
This eventually impacts the organization positively. To build trust within the work environment:
Be the change that you want to witness in your team. Lay down the data of excellence for others to follow. Work and live by the values you want to see in your team. Your team will naturally emulate your work ethics and behaviour.
Honesty and integrity:
People will trust you if they find you in a space of your honesty and integrity. They will count on you to be authentic and truthful even when the going is tough. Your team will value you due to your attributes of honesty and will most likely reciprocate it. Always keep your word even on small matters. People appreciate that you do what you say and say what you do.
Be a team player:
As a team leader, it is imperative for you to speak up for your team. When your team is being treated unfairly, it is your responsibility to defend your team at such crucial times. Ensure that your team gets full credit for their accomplishments.
Micromanagement is indicative of not delegating to your team. Not delegating shows that you don’t trust them. It also shows that you are not offering opportunities for them to grow and develop. Eventually, you are not creating leaders but encouraging people to become followers. This has a negative impact on your succession planning. Since you micromanage you need to constantly keep following up and checking on with what your people are doing. This shows a lack of trust in them. In a space of no trust, collaboration suffers, team development and team engagement to take a beating. So give them opportunities to do their best work.
Understanding and being conscious of clarifying expectations is very important. Check by asking your client or supplier what they are expecting. This openness may surprise them, but you’ll gain valuable information.
Delegating effectively always empowers your people. They feel happy that you trust them and this encourages them to do their best work at their own initiative. Delegating effectively can help you to empower the team and yourself too.
By “letting go” some control over your team member, you give them space to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own work. This will make them more capable when it comes to tackling problems.
When you empower someone, you allow them to explore the different ways of working that best suit them. This encourages them to use their initiative and solve problems creatively.
An empowered team member recognizes that their decisions impact the main goals of their team and those of the wider organization.
Solve problems quickly:
Empowerment has the potential to reduce the need to ask for authorization. This positively impacts the team and they can get on with their job quickly and more efficiently.
Empowering someone encourages that person to take ownership and responsibility of their own workload. This most likely will increase their levels of motivation and inspiration to do a great job.
6. Giving feedback
The purpose of offering feedback is to make people understand where they need to focus on and eventually improve people’s performance. Avoid being harsh or aggressive. Use Appreciative Inquiry and focus on improvements and be positive. Feedback should always be fair and balanced, whether it’s good or bad.
Address the issue soon after the event. The sooner you do it, the more likely the person will be expecting it and can do something to put things right.
Be specific and offer timely feedback:
Tell the person exactly what they need to do to improve. This clarity can help them to take action and to know where they stand. Knowing when to offer feedback is very important.
It is important to measure whether or not performance is improving and make adjustments accordingly. Document your conversations and discuss what’s working and what needs to change.
7. Manage Relationships
At some point in time, you will likely have to deal with difficult or aggressive people. Whether they are demanding customers, entitled team members or overbearing managers, use these skills to turn the relationship around
Be careful before taking action:
It is highly imperative to take well thought out decisions after making unbiased evaluations. Understand if they are having a bad day or this is their normal behaviour before taking any action.
Calmly confront the person in private:
He/ she may not know that they are being rude or unkind. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and address the problem privately. Explain what’s bothering you, and what you’d like him/ her to do about it.
Don’t fight, and don’t retreat:
Avoid the mantra of aggression with aggression, but be sure not to back down. Instead, stay calm, and speak plainly about his/her actions. Then, wait for a response; your silence Involve your boss: if you’ve tried to resolve the situation on your own, and haven’t succeeded, ask your boss for help. Meet with them privately to explain the situation clearly, and what you would like them to do. May force them to respond.
8. Build Your Team
Identify your team’s requirements:
Work with your team’s strengths and areas of development. Get to the root of any conflict, poor communication, and low morale.
Make team building part of your culture:
Introduce a culture of inclusiveness, curiosity, empowerment and honesty. Initiate a growth mindset and growth culture. Inculcate leadership partnership where leaders know how to lead themselves and how to lead others.
Get to know your team:
In today’s complex work environments, teams comprise of people who bring in a diversity of need, ambitions and personalities. Help your team members to mix and mingle at a team social event. Networking is very important this enhances visibility.
Create a shared vision and purpose:
Inspire the associates to work towards a shared purpose. In the absence of a clear vision and purpose, the associates get pulled in different directions. This builds frustrations and lowers performance and productivity.
Develop strong team skills:
Introduce training and coaching programs to build different skill sets. Use different assessments like Hogan Assessments,
Everything DiSC Workplace, The Leadership Circle, CliftonStrengths, EQ-i 2.0 For Emotional Intelligence, 360 Degree Feedback, other personality profiling and psychometric assessments to understand team’s abilities and training needs, and to match their skills to specific roles.