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Effective Leadership - Making your Business Relationships work


Guest articles > Effective Leadership - Making your Business Relationships work


by: John Fillingham


I clearly remember sitting at my desk, thinking, I’m giving my all to these managers and what am I getting in return? I realised I wasn’t getting much out of the deal and then it hit me…deal, deal, what deal had I struck? I wasn’t so sure I knew and it dawned on me whether they knew what it was either, so were we all wandering around in a fog of job role expectations and assumptions??

For me this ‘hits on the head’ the quintessential problem in any relationship, management or otherwise, too much is assumed, either by job title or history….what has the previous incumbent in my role done??? Can I change that perception?? Oh blimey…call in the change management consultants again….

Sort out the boundaries right from the start

However, like a bolt of lightening I quickly came to the conclusion that the only way out of this fog was to start demanding more…and stronger! Wrong. That failed catastrophically, I just managed to get up their noses. So what possibly could I do to unravel the complexities of these sometimes fragile relationships?

Structure, structure, structure

 My old friend and sworn enemy… I love it but I hate it…I know it has its purposes and I know it has served me well in the past but some just don’t work….ok I’ve learned now that structure always needs some flexibility to adapt and is built together, not by me alone (woops another leadership lesson – arguably the most important). So I need some boundaries for my relationships – mutually agreed….ok sounds like a good idea in practice, oh isn’t there a buzz word for this…ah yes….service level agreements…brilliant….I can even dress what I’m doing in smart business language!!

However, don’t these need to go further?? Yes they do, when you’re talking about relationships they have a slightly different twist because it is at the heart of how two (or more) people interact…how they treat each other…so it has to be more personal and a heavy focus on how, what and when you communicate.

Putting it into action

So I began, carefully introducing into our discussions how we could work more effectively together, balancing our own personal needs, often actually asking what they were (in a not so obvious fashion) often using the line….”what do you enjoy about your job…..and what do you hate?” as a way of understanding what drives and motivates them.

Building Trust

Slowly but surely, as we built up more trust, particularly as we were now more honest in our communications, our relationships got significantly better and I was getting a better “deal” out of the whole situation. We were definitely closer as a team, which pushes the buttons for me in what motivates and drives me, as I’m sure it is for many people - relationships count.

The silent spectre

I am convinced all relationships need some type of agreed structure. We usually create them silently, sometimes knowingly often unknowingly…but it is there, it exists. Hanging like a spectre in the atmosphere, like most things you do, you have a choice, you can make it your friend and use it to your advantage or let it haunt you like an unwanted ghost!

4SIGHT solutions 2007 – John Fillingham –,

Contributor: John Fillingham

Published here on: 16-Dec-07

Classification: Leadership, Communication


MSWord: jf relationship article.doc

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