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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 26 – Productive Working Relationships

30/11/2020

Dear Leaders,

How are you shaping up for the end of the year?

In today’s leaders letter, I am going to cover working relationships. What could come under company culture or company performance.

The older you become, typically the higher you progress, the more likely you have to proactively work on your working relationships between colleagues and fellow members of management and leadership teams.

If you are not working on this, you are, unfortunately, likely losing.

Often you will have to develop “productive working relationships”. In life, there are going to be people you just don’t get on with and in the professional world you will encounter this (I know I did) and you will have to proactively work on ensuring you can work together for the best of the company and for the best of your colleagues.

I personally would struggle with two behaviours.

  1. Colleagues who would be ‘independently motivated’, those who would work behind the scenes to put their interests first or proactively work to have dedicated time with the HiPPO to force their agenda through. Providing you get Face-time and zoom-time and build a relationship, you will beat those who don’t work on this.
  2. I would also struggle with people who would be CC warriors, say one thing and then pounce on any opportunity to CC in leaders or leadership teams into emails. This is and will always be unprofessional behaviour.

We all face these behaviours and have to develop our own approach.
The most professional and the best way I found to tackle this is to speak directly to said person and make them aware that their behaviour can and likely will cause issues and typically you both decide how you move forward.

With some individuals, their motivations will not change but it is something you have tackled and typically allows you both to be on the same page and will be able not to let this behaviour creep into your interactions and with your teams.

Throughout my career, I have seen many co-founders drift apart, some co-founders proactively take each other apart, build a CC warrior culture, and lose the company around them based on their working relationships.

One, in particular, was so messy it went into administration from misalignment and distrust of each other. Part of the culture became deciding which founder you would side with and proactively back. For the younger and less experienced it was unfair and uncomfortable. For the older, it became more than work.
This behaviour filters through the business and this behaviour can become the norm if not managed correctly.

When the chips are down and performance is struggling, you need to come together and coordinate fighting external factors, not the internal factors.

Working on relationships is an essential part of the business world, it doesn’t have to be political or have an agenda other than wanting to improve your working environment and remove poor behaviours and subcultures within your business.

In the coming weeks leading up to Christmas focus on:
Planning in sessions where you get to know each other professionally and personally, understand the motivations of your colleagues and when you feel comfortable to have feedback sessions where you have open discussions around how behaviours and actions can influence the company and causes rifts.

As recommended previously, create agreed principles and share throughout the business. Reduce company anxiety levels by reducing friction points, 2021 will hinge for many businesses on company culture driving company performance and how you will fight for the same cause vs internally fighting over many.

Have a good and proactive week,

Danny

PS if you need help with company culture, happily get in touch below

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