Fostering Productive Internal Relationships

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A leader with no followers is really just a person out for a walk”? How do some leaders seem to have a lot of influence, and others struggle to have just a little? Why is it that when some folks want to implement a change, it is so much easier for them than it might be for others? Why do some people get “buy-in” to an idea much more quickly than others? There are many reasons and answers to those questions, but the overarching answer is the importance of having relationships.

Relationships inside an organization are important in numerous ways. First, most people enjoy their jobs more if they have productive relationships at work. Work is more gratifying and fulfilling when people interact. Individuals have a sense of belonging through relationships, which gives them more job satisfaction. Second, when you build relationships, you are investing in others and they in you. This mutual investment should create a mutual benefit. Through that mutual benefit, people can win together and share each other’s successes and the team’s success.

In one of the other leadership competencies, we discuss being able to drive results directly and indirectly. Relationships are a big benefit when you have to drive results indirectly, both in your business and area across divisions and business units. We can indirectly drive results through the relationships we’ve purposefully built with others. Without those relationships, this indirect influence is incredibly difficult.

How can you build those internal relationships? You must be willing to initiate conversation and dialogue. We get to know each other through communication. It doesn’t happen overnight; you didn’t become best friends with anyone the first time you visited. It took time. But over time, through ongoing conversations and shared experiences and successes, the relationship grew and became what it is today. Strong relationships allow for open and honest dialogue. These intentionally built relationships offer permission to give and receive feedback, creating a culture of honesty and helping each other for mutual benefit. In the end, everyone wins.

So, while some of us may tend to keep to ourselves and “do our own thing,” it is important as leaders that we build relationships within our teams and across the organization. Not only will building relationships help you and others lead, but these relationships will also provide more enjoyable and meaningful interactions every day.

Continue leading the Interstates Way!

Jack Woelber


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