Building strong relationships is all about having two sides appreciate each other and want to build a bond that works both ways.
This can generate the enormous benefits of collaboration, which is a valuable interchange of ideas and effort that is better than one plus one.
When you are a boss, it's quite natural to take the lead in conversations, and those who work for you usually take the subordinate role as a matter of course - it's what they've always done!
So you need to do more to make them feel an equal partner with you in the ventures you undertake. You need to make a special effort to show them how much you value what they say, as a way of encouraging them.
One special way can be particularly effective.
This is a small step you can take in every conversation, which, like magic, makes a massive difference to how you are perceived in any relationship.
It is not a difficult skill to learn and you can start right away.
When you are in conversation (any conversation!), ask another question about what they have told you.
That's it, just one more question about what your conversation partner has been saying - about anything!
What does this do? Here are twelve great benefits to this...
1. It shows you are listening and paying attention
2. It shows that what has been said is valuable
3. It values the person you have been talking to
4. Psychologically, it builds trust between you because you have shown you care
5. It develops the conversation and they will tell you even more
6. It enables them to realise that there is someone who they can share their thoughts, ideas, hopes and fears with
7. They can also start to approach you outside conversations started by you
8. It makes you appear out of the ordinary - in fact a bit of a hero - you listen, and most others in your position don't
9. It creates new approaches which may well be of real value
10. Questioning becomes much less extraordinary, more the natural way
11. It helps you develop a conversational style which will help you do more, go further, involve others too
12. You can do it with your boss - see what the results are!
It is the start of a change of culture, to one where everyone values the input and involvement of each other - and that can be a most rewarding exercise.
Not least that you are making strong, supportive and encouraging bonds with each one of your people, one at a time.
And that is what 99% of bosses and leaders don't do.
With this simple tool - ask another question about what they have been saying, you can make the difference - and you will!
Martin Haworth is a business and management coach and trainer, working with a range of clients from corporates to individuals worldwide. www.MartinHaworth.com