Building relationships with the people you lead can be tricky. You never know if you’re getting too cozy with the team or if you’re being too distant. Neither of which is a good thing.
Finding that balance between being a leader and being a friend will challenge you. It’ll make you consider whether or not you want to lead!
Add into the mix the challenge of going from a coworker to someone who is leading those you were once equals, and the challenge level goes up to 100.
When leading and building relationships, you must consider 4 things…
4 Things To Consider When Building Relationships With Your Team
1. Building relationships take time:
Think about a romantic relationship. You start with a little bit of desire or interest. You see a pretty girl. You’re intrigued. You start to get to know her slowly. Eventually, you get the courage to ask her out on a first date. The first date leads to a second, a third, and, hopefully, eventually marriage.
Most people don’t go for the marriage proposal on the first date (though I know a handful of people who have). You spend time getting to know the person you’re interested in. You spend time with them. And THEN you make the ask.
Why do we think business relationships with our team will differ? We’ve got to work on the relationship.
You may have the power because of your title, but you don’t have the respect. Respect comes through spending time with your team, showing that you have their back, and working through issues.
Take the time to build relationships with your team.
2. Building relationships requires change:
I’ve already mentioned that transitioning from a coworker to a leader or manager can be tricky for your relationship. Sometimes, the coworkers you’ve made friendships with will try to take advantage of your new position. Others will feel threatened.
The relationships you have with your team members will change over time.
Be ready to deal with those changes. You must be willing to work through the difficulties that come when changes happen.
Build the relationships strong enough that they will be able to withstand the storms of change.
3. Building relationships require influence, not a title:
Anyone can be given a title. You’ve seen this before. Maybe you were given a title without first building a relationship with the team you’re leading.
If you are promoted to a leadership position but haven’t worked on building your influence with your team, you’re going to be in trouble. Your team may see the title you now have as going to your head.
Work hard with your team to ensure that you’re gaining influence and not exerting power on your team. You’ll have to navigate the hidden landmines, but you can do it.
Keep showing up. Keep supporting. Keep being there. You’ll gain the influence you need to lead.
4. Building relationships requires appreciation:
If you’ve been in any kind of relationship, you know that relationships need to be worked upon. One of the ways to work on your relationship is to show appreciation.
In the business world, appreciation is often an afterthought. You believe that you’re already showing appreciation by paying your employees a fair wage.
Yes, that’s one form of appreciation, but it doesn’t stop there. Your team members want a two-way relationship when it comes to appreciation.
Your team members know they’ll have to work extra hours. They believe this is showing you appreciation. What are you doing to reciprocate your appreciation? Could you work in an extra bonus, more time off, or better benefits? Even something as simple as a pizza party does wonders.
These are a few ways to show extra appreciation to your team above and beyond their base pay.
Make sure you’re appreciating your team. Make sure you’re appreciating them in ways that they feel noticed.