Relationship building is a vital element of any manager's activity. It has to be an incessant and pro-active behaviour which is - or becomes - the very essence of any manager's personal style.
When we work with change, it's going to be challenging for our people to accept, so the relationships we have with them will be strained by default. We are doing something to them which is going to have an impact - it's almost always our fault.
Where no real effort has been made to create substantial relationships with the individuals in a team, the more challenging it will be to make sure that change is delivered successfully.
Building relationships isn't hard. Many managers find that creating the necessary time to build conversations with each and every one of their team is difficult. When this is the case, it's important to take a close look at how time is used and consider different ways to work.
Sometimes managers are not focused enough to make sure that they do their own role. It becomes easy to take on tasks which are less demanding at the expense of making time for their people.
Yet relationship building is the core of a manager's activity set. The role is to manage people, not to push a pen around or work with objects. People are where the focus has to lie for any manager worth the title.
How To Do It
As a simple step to making relationships work, target having one-to-one dialogues with a set number of your people each day. Try to ensure that the way you interact with them is to value them.
An easy way to do this is to let them do most of the talking, by triggering their thinking with open questions that seek information. You can then easily let them talk and do most of the listening when that is your goal.
This can have a remarkable effect that shows them you care about them as individuals and that you have the time to make them feel a valued member of the team.
Investment upfront will then pay off when the tricky conversations take place in changing situations.