As a project manager (or as a leader in general) it’s critical that you establish and maintain effective, positive relationships with your team. This can be an incredibly difficult task and if done wrong, can set the stage for disaster in your tenure as a project manager at your organization. So how do you go about building these relationships with your individual team members and with your team as a collective?
Each relationship is different. Even though the interactions may be similar (if you have a team of 5 developers one may think that building each relationship would be a similar task), your individual relationships with each member can be quite different. There are a lot of drivers that contribute to forming the relationship but none greater than your own personality and demeanor. Every leader has their own style – some prefer servant-leadership, others prefer a more hard-fisted approach – towards building relationships with their teams and while styles will vary, the end goal is simple – a trusting relationship where expectations are clearly communicated, understood and lived up to. Here are some steps that you as a leader can take to building up a good working relationship with your individual team members.
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s surprising how often team members distrust their leaders. Even the perception of dishonesty can be a relationship killer. Leaders need to go out of their way to ensure that their teams trust them and trust their judgment. There’s no better recipe for disaster than a team that does not trust their leader. By always being honest and transparent with your team you are showing them that you trust them and that they should be trusting you.
Leaders need to have the respect of their teams. Without it, you cannot effectively motivate your teams in the direction you feel is best. So how does one build respect with someone else? In my experience it’s been by proving yourself, by whatever means necessary. In some cases it could be as simple as standing up for your team in a tough situation, maybe taking one on the chin when you could easily let it roll downhill to your team. In other situations it may be where you step in and help out where necessary to get the job done. There’s no cookie-cutter recipe for building a respect with your team however good leaders always find a way to do it.
I don’t know if I’ve written an article without stressing the need for communication so here goes. Communication is the lifeblood of a good relationship. By effectively communicating with your team you are letting them know exactly what your expectations are and more importantly – how are they living up to those expectations.
Building relationships is not an overly complex task however it does take a cognizant effort to ensure that they are built properly and more importantly, effectively fostered and maintained. Making efforts to ensure that your professional relationships are nurtured just as much as your personal relationships can help ensure that you and your team become a tight, high performing unit and deliver great results.
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