Making Relationships Productive

To be successful, managers and leaders need good relationships with their peers, subordinates and bosses. Yet, I usually see less-than-effective relationships when working with a leader. Often those relationships are allowed to continue, despite the personal and organizational costs.

Net Loss Relationships. The worst relationships are those where two people cause each other to be less productive. Blaming, miscommunicating, and defensiveness consumes energy of everyone around them. The longer the relationship continues, the more it costs the organization. As the manager, you cannot let these relationships coast – they will not get better on their own.

Breakeven Relationships. Sometimes productive and sometimes unproductive, these relationships are marked by people who cannot seem to develop effective ways to work together on a consistent basis. They are often cross-functional such as an engineering manager and a production manager, or a sales manager and a marketing manager. Together, the individuals do not add significantly to productivity, but their bosses tend to ‘live with it.’

Productive relationships. In these relationships, two people create more than they could do each one working independently. It’s rarely the case that the two agree on everything, but that is one of the reasons they are both creative in coming up with solutions, and productive in their work together. Usually, they share a common goal, and realize that to be successful, they have to depend on each other.

How are your relationships with your peers, direct reports, and boss? Which ones produce a net increase in productiveness, and which reduce productivity? What kind of relationships do you see in your overall organization, and in particular, among your direct reports? Do you have an approach and a plan to either make relationships productive or take other action? It’s important to act on them now – waiting will result in three possible outcomes; and two of them are costly.

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
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Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.

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