I have been reflecting on my last couple of decades in leadership roles and pondering on what I actually do to build robust relationships, with those I work closely with, in order to support their development at work.
I have started to ‘boil it down’ and suggest 6 purposeful ways in which I build relationships and enable people to flourish.
I share these with you not specifically as an absolute template but in the hope that you might find it interesting and start to consider the ways in which you also build enduring developmental relationships with those around you.
1. Taking an interest
I have always taken a keen interest in the people I work with, finding out about their likes and dislikes, strengths and gaps, what makes them tick, what causes them stress and how they might behave in different situations. By being compassionately curious we can build deep and ensuring relationships that are enormously useful in enabling people to develop and grow at work.
2. Tapping into strengths
Peter Drucker said that “the task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths that make weaknesses irrelevant”. I really like this quote and have found that focussing on people’s strengths is a much more effective way of enabling people to gain confidence and skills even in areas that they typically find challenging.
3. Showing Commitment
It is important to act in a way that shows a commitment to those we work alongside. Behaving in a dependable way provides others with a safe framework to operate in – they can have the knowledge that you can be relied on, be there for them as they develop, and enable them to try out new things and innovate in their work.
4. Being Optimistic
We all need to be believed in and in a work context it is particularly important. To support others in being the best they can be it is crucial to ‘hold hope’ for them under all circumstances. Showing people that you have faith in them and are optimistic about their work endeavours is empowering and essential for growth.
5. Generosity of spirit
None of us are the finished article and things don’t always go to plan. Acting in a developmental way and providing a learning culture for people requires a generosity of spirit that continuously strives to find the learning in situations that don’t go so well and enable people to embed that learning without judgement.
6. Keeping them in mind
The final way that I build and maintain developmental relationships, with those I work with, is by ‘keeping them in my mind’. Thinking about them, reflecting on their work and actively engaging with them about their development on a regular basis. We are all different and so the approaches we use to support each person needs to be subtly different. This results in each relationship we have being unique and having its own dynamic quality.
The Wellbeing Collective