How to Build More Effective Working Relationships

How to Build More Effective Working Relationships

Various surveys have found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing relationships and when there are close working relationships amongst teams, levels of employee engagement increase.  

We can’t all be expected to get on with everyone all of the time, but it seems that in an ever complex and busy workplace, it is becoming more difficult to create and sustain effective working relationships. As with most issues that existed before enforced remote working and the introduction of hybrid working changed the work environment forever, relationships that were already strained are often now deteriorating. Sadly remote working has led to an array of misunderstandings, misscommunication, and an increase in employment law cases as workers may feel isolated and excluded and may misinterpret online messages, and even body language.

Only a few years ago team members frequently chatted around the water cooler or coffee machines and went to the pub after work to bond over a drink.  A general increase in commuting time, heavy workloads, larger team sizes and virtual or global teams have all contributed to a quick drink after work not being that simple to organize and sometimes culturally not acceptable.  Of course, with hybrid working being the new normal, many team members now have to rely on virtual social events.

According to the CIPD ‘the single most common contributor to conflict is differences in personality or styles of working’  with around half of employees citing personality clashes as the key issue, followed by high workload, general stress, dishonesty and poor leadership also derailing working relationships. Some statistics suggest that 85% of employees have experienced conflict at work, with 30% saying it happens on a frequent basis and managers reporting they can spend up to 2 – 3 hours each week attempting to resolve disputes.

During Natural Talent’s Executive CoachingLeadership Development  and Management Training we ask managers to identify their key stakeholders and review how best to communicate with each one of them.  Then managers work on developing strong Emotional Intelligence to assist them in better understanding their own and their stakeholders’ emotions as well as identifying their personality styles and those of their team members.  Managers also consider the different needs, interests, values or motivators amongst their team members and how best to flex their style accordingly.  

They practise how to keep personal comments out of feedback to avoid team members becoming defensive and denying responsibility. Managers are reminded of how negative body language, such as rolling of eyes and even tutting, can result in a general breakdown in constructive communication, of course being mindful that all mannerisms are accentuated on small screens during video calls! 

Managers also work on developing their listening skills, as nowadays the art of Active Listening is dying out due to us all being side-tracked by multiple forms of technology, open–plan offices, extremely high workloads or the background noise on a video call. Consequently, managers and employees often mishear, misunderstand or misinterpret what they have heard or been told and relationships can start to deteriorate. So, during Coaching and Training managers also practise their Active Listening skills and are reminded of what team members look for in a positive working relationship, such as:  

‘Thank you so much.  I now reflect more on how I flex my style and develop my team.  I am much more focused and as a team we are way more efficient and motivated.’  CIO, Global Engineering

You can read some of our Client Success Stories here and read Jill Maidment's eBook on Soft Skills here.  Please  contact us to discuss your requirements or to book a Coaching or Training module.