Continuing the Story – Cultivating Work Relationships

| October 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Luke was looking forward to his meeting with Jane, Vice President of Operations for the division. As requested he read the first four chapters of Cultivate, The Power of Winning Relationships. WorkingTogetherBlocks_iStock_000018610273-300x225[1]Actually he had just finished Chapter 9, Adversary Relationships. He wanted to better understand the concept of Adversaries because recently he felt that a colleague, who he would have considered a Supporter, had become very adversarial soon after Luke received a promotion.  It made him sad to think about the current state of their working relationship and how it was undermining a big project that was Luke’s responsibility.

Click here to read the beginning of this story.

Jane welcomed him into to her office, “Hello Luke, did you have a chance to read the first four chapters of Cultivate?”Luke said with genuine enthusiasm, “I finished up through Chapter 9 last night.” “Wow, that’s great. I’m betting you think you might have an Adversary or two.”, said Jane. “But before we get sidetracked, tell me what resonated with you in Barrett’s book.”

Luke opened his dog-eared book and read the following from Cultivate:

As you progress through your career, the quality of your relationships has a greater    impact on your success than your individual accomplishments. The ability to achieve   results with others is your most valuable skill.

The How of Achieving Goals is critical to ensure successful execution.

  • How we behave with each other
  • How we resolve disagreements
  • How we leverage our individual experiences and skills
  • How we talk about others, especially when they’re not around

Developing a relationship map. We need to know who our critical stakeholders are – above, below and lateral.

In a healthy culture, conflict will still occur, but it will happen in a way that increases understanding. When disagreements occur, they will be handled in a respectful manner that results in strengthened (not damaged) relationships.

Adversarial relationships don’t just happen by chance . . . you are not a victim . . .  you have played a part . . . that created the relationship either through action or inaction.

“It was this last statement that spurred me on to read more. I feel like I have an Adversarial relationship and it concerns me that I’m inadvertently adding to the problem. What’s really bothering me is that a few months ago I would have considered this person to be a Supporter and was hoping that they would become an Ally. I just don’t get it.”, said Luke. Jane asked Luke to describe the interactions he was having with this individual.

Luke provided a number of examples including his ideas constantly being shot down, finding fault with the direction he was leading the team – in front of the team and intentionally setting up roadblocks. Luke was exhausted and frustrated. He found himself actively avoiding this person. When he did have to engage Luke could feel his stomach tighten and responding in monosyllables. The impact of the deteriorated relationship was not just on him, but the rest of the team members as well as missed project milestones.

Jane gave Luke a minute to catch his breath and then asked the question, “How are you contributing to this situation?” After some thought Luke replied, “I should have immediately pulled him aside when his behavior toward me changed and ask what was going on. I think if I had done that in the beginning we might have had a decent conversation. Now our relationship has hit a real low point and the conversation will be a lot harder.”

Jane asked, “Luke what do you know about emotional intelligence? The response was, “Not much, but I know that Barrett covers it in Chapter 10 of Cultivate. Looks like I have more reading to do.” Jane smiled and they set up another meeting for the end of the week with a promise from Jane that an action plan would come together.

 

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About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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