Every business is founded on relationships; the relationships between colleagues, the relationships with suppliers, the relationships with clients and the relationships with other businesses. Forming strong relationships is such a crucial factor in business success, yet many business owners and managers don’t invest in their relationships. This can damage your brand, cost you money and lose you good employees, suppliers and customers.
Unfortunately, not everyone will get along with everyone else on the team. That’s because everyone is different and will have different strengths, different weaknesses and different working styles. Try and respect everyone, even if you don’t like them. If they contribute to the success of the team, then don’t let your personal feelings get in the way.
Be mindful of different personality types in the workplace. Sometimes they will complement each other and sometimes they will conflict. If you can be more aware of this, then you can manage it better. Of course, if there is an issue with a colleague’s performance or they are acting in an inappropriate way towards you, this needs to be addressed. You may be able to talk to your colleague yourself and find out if there is an underlying issue you can help them resolve. Otherwise, you should speak to their line manager.
Don’t take advantage of workplace friendships by asking a colleague to cover up your mistakes or take on your responsibilities and don’t let them do it to you. Be careful of forming tight-knit friendship groups and making other colleagues feel excluded or isolated. Try to build a positive relationship with everyone.
Manager and employee relationships
It can be difficult to find the right balance as a manager. You want your employees to be motivated; being friendly, open and approachable can help you achieve this. However, sometimes you will have to implement changes they aren’t happy with, so you need them to respect your authority too.
There is nothing wrong with building friendships with your employees if you also have their respect as a manager. Always maintain a professional distance. You don’t want to confide in someone only for them to turn it around and use it against you later. Never disclose anything that could jeopardise your business or damage your company’s reputation.
Be mindful of the language you use towards employees. You might be having a joke, but someone may take offence. Don’t do anything that could be viewed as bullying, discrimination or harassment. Invest in your employees. They need to feel valued so praise them when they do a good job, reward them when they deserve it and let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Make sure that you offer training and development opportunities. Building your employee’s skills and knowledge will benefit your business and help you retain good people.
Many business owners make the mistake of neglecting relationships with their suppliers. They think that a supplier should be grateful for the business and therefore should be the ones that make all the effort. If you think this way, then you could be missing opportunities and damage your reputation.
A supplier may still work with you even if you are difficult, but they won’t recommend you to any of their contacts. You don’t know who else they are connected to. They could have a good relationship with your dream client. If you have a good relationship with your suppliers, they will be more likely to go the extra mile for you when you need it. They’ll prioritise you as a client because they won’t want to lose you and they’ll recommend you.
Value the services your suppliers provide. It’s okay to try and negotiate prices but if they refuse to go lower then respect that. If you don’t, you are implying that you don’t value what they do. Pushing too hard can damage the relationship and you could lose a valuable connection.
Thank your suppliers. If they have done a good job for you, leave a review on their website or social media pages, send them a thankyou letter and recommend their services to others.
Customers and clients are vital to every business. If nobody is buying from you then it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, your business won’t have a future.
When you are trying to win a new customer, take time to understand their needs then show them how you will benefit them. Set the expectation high but make sure you are realistic. It is always better to under promise and over deliver.
Communicate with your customer before, during and after you have delivered a service. The little things can make the biggest impacts; a thank you card after a purchase, a small gift at Christmas or a follow-up call to check they are happy. It is more cost effective to retain customers rather than having to constantly win new ones.
Building strong relationships with clients is extremely beneficial. They’ll be more likely to recommend you to others, buy from you again and agree to price increases as you grow your business.
Focus on positive relationships
Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on winning new clients or pleasing the difficult ones, that we forget to pay attention to our best clients. They are the ones that we should be trying to keep happy. You can’t please everyone, and you don’t have to work with every client, so learn when it’s time to walk away.
Always invest in the most positive relationships; the ones that move you closer to your goal.
Make everyone feel important
Everyone wants to feel valued. If you make people feel special, then they are more likely to like and trust you. Show genuine interest in people, get to know them. Provide value by sharing advice, knowledge or skills or just providing support. Be grateful and show your appreciation when they help you or do something well. Doing these things will improve the strength of your relationships.
Work with me
As a life coach for business owners, one of the areas I focus on is relationships. I look at how you communicate with others so I can help you improve your business relationships. I also offer workplace coaching for you and your teams. This can be carried out on a one to one basis or as group sessions. Some of the areas I can help with are:
- Conflict resolution and management
- Stress management
- Communication skills
- Working with different personality types
- Identifying learning styles
- Strategic intervention
If you would like to speak to me about coaching for you or your team, then I’d love to hear from you.
Contact me today and let me coach you to success and help your business reach its full potential.