Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Relational Manager

Talent wins games. Teamwork wins championships. ~ Michael Jordan

Relationship management is a critical skill in all executives. Talent will get you promoted, but without understanding relationships you will only go so far. It is unavoidable. You can be the best at whatever you are doing, but if you don’t gain the support of others, you are limited in your success. I’m still learning this so I’m not going to pretend that I have the answers. I’m naturally a straight shooter and not a politician type. But then that’s seeing it in only two ways. I’m either one or the other, but can I be both? I see value in the ability to have both task management, while being a relational manager. My mentor has seemed to master this.

Steven Covey states it best in the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. There are different focuses: dependent, independent and interdependent. Going from independent to interdependent is what separates a task manager from a relational manager. I don’t care what it is you are doing, you are going to need to work with others eventually. Operating by yourself is operating in a vacuum and you are not gaining the benefit of the experience of others.

Also, there is a process to management. It seems that the longer you do it, the better you get at relationship management, so I look to people that have more experience than me on the matter. They’ve been through the process so why not gain more by asking questions about the process. If I get stuck, I ask “How would you handle this?” It creates a relationship between you and the senior manager. Experienced people like to share their experiences and new people like to share their “new” way of thinking. Both gain the benefit. Both are interdependent.

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