Thursday, September 22, 2005

Relationships - Basic Management Skills

Recent studies have shown that industrial supervisors are working at less than

60 % of their potential. Basic management skills training is guaranteed

to change all this and at such little cost.

Building and maintaining relationships The building, protecting and repairing of

relationships is at the center of all our lives. Family life is the

best possible example of relationships at work. You spend almost as

much time in work as you do with your family so it is not surprising

that relationships are considered of fundamental importance.

The art of motivation is nothing new to us as we do it as a matter of

routine in our lives. We motivate our children to succeed and we

encourage our friends in their pursuits. Building and maintaining

relationships takes time and effort but these can be so easily lost. An

excellent relationship developed over five years can be lost in a

second due to a hasty comment or a sudden action.

As a supervisor or manager you will build and maintain thousands of relationships

during your career so it is worth developing your relationship skills.

Although relationships and motivation are not exactly the same they are

totally inter-related.

For example, when you successfully motivate someone to do something then that will improve your

relationship. On the other hand, if you have a good relationship it

becomes easier to motivate because you are trusted.

Here are some good tips on building good relationships

1 Build new relationships quickly and carefully

The advantage of new relationships is that they start from a clean slate.

This is a great opportunity to build a healthy and lasting

relationship. Be careful not to show favoritism, as you cannot damage

the existing relationships in the process. If you are the new boy then

you will need to work very hard to establish your relationships with

your new group. You will be the center of attention so be careful.

2 Relationships require constant attention

Do not take relationships for granted, as they need maintenance in the

same way as complex machinery. A common problem is to only talk to your

people when there is a problem or a specific reason. This is a clear

sign to everyone that the job is more important than the person is.

3 Repair damage quickly

No matter how skilful you become in building relationships the occasional

breaks are inevitable. When these happens you must act quickly, don't

allow them to fester. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be

resolved in seconds or perhaps an apology is required.

4 Don't build one relationship at the expense of another

It is possible that one of your groups needs much more attention than

another. In building one relationship, it is easy to neglect the

others. Make time for each group member and never allow your personal

favoritism to show.

5 Don't play games with relationships

A relationship is not a toy or an experiment that the supervisor is free

to experiment with freely. A relationship is based on trust and this

must be treated with respect.

6 Keep the channel cool

The relationship line can become emotionally charged. Extreme emotional

feelings can make the channel very hot. An emotional outburst is one of

the easiest ways of damaging relationships.

7 Separate business from pleasure

The best policy is not to mix your business and pleasure lives separate. It

is difficult to discipline someone if you are close friends. Of course,

in many cases you will have been co-worker and friends with most of

your group for many years and there is no justification for changing

these relationships. However, you need to exercise caution in these


Try to do business things in work and social things outside รข€“ don't mix the two.

8 React to relationship breakdown

Sometimes in spite of all your hard work you fail to build a workable

relationship with someone under your supervision. It is difficult to

admit defeat but it is also important to protect the other

relationships in the group. This nearly always means removing the

person from the group. This can be achieved by the transfer the person

or by his termination.

Making these decisions is never a pleasant

task, but in some cases it is inevitable. Ironically, this action is

usually the best for both parties.

9 Your behavior

The last but not the least important aspect of people management is your

behavior. This is the one area where you have enormous advantages over

machine management in that you have the choice. Others usually choose

our machines and you can do little to change that, but the way you

behave is your choice.


Chris Thomas is the author of the Managers Toolbox training material located at and runs the very successful Basic Management Course for new leaders and supervisors.

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