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Why Are Relationships So Important? - HR Perspective

A crucial function of a strategic human resource professional is to drive change. This can be challenging if you have not gained the trust and respect of those you support and are attempting to drive change with.

Earning the trust of your management team is a must to successfully impact their goals and the goals of the organization. A lack of trust between HR and operation leaders can hinder the success of the organization.

So, how can you build meaningful relationships and gain trust with operation leaders while supporting the best interest of the organization?

  • Get to know those you support on a personal level

  • Get to know their families. It provides a great conversation starter for the next time you interact. Ask questions like: “How is your wife, Sandy, doing?” The fact that you remembered personal aspects of their life will open the door to building a personal relationship.

  • Be consistent

  • Provide equal support and effort. Respond to your management team consistently. You’ll lose respect with some managers if you show favoritism.

  • Learn their business

  • Educate yourself. Get to know as much about their role as possible. Learn how you can impact their goals and initiatives directly.

  • Follow-up

  • Do what you say you are going to do when you say are going to do it. Keep your commitments so your internal customers know they can depend on you.

  • Maintain your role and express values in their language

  • Don’t police! Listen and offer your expert opinion and alternatives to solve their problem. Offer as many alternative solutions as you do risks. I had a manager that wanted to rehire an employee that, in my opinion, was ineligible. Instead of simply saying no, I listened to his needs and expressed the risks of the rehire. I ended the conversation by saying: “My suggestion would be to promote from within for that role or consider an external candidate, but I support your decision either way.” He not only took my advice, but was appreciative. Don’t solely rely on policy to uphold it; discuss conflicts and offer solutions in their language.

  • Give them credit for supporting you

  • Show your appreciation for how they support you in your role. The more positive examples you can give, the more they will do it, and make your role that much easier.

  • Repair any communication barriers

  • Trust can’t develop if there aren’t opportunities to do so. Open the lines of communication. Be approachable and present. Show you want to support them and offer your time as often as possible.

As a support leader, if you want to gain respect and drive change, you must build a foundation with those you want to impact. Thinking that a title or position is enough to support your initiative is naïve and unfair. Trust is earned, but once gained and maintained, you will be on your way to being a successful leader who supports the mission, values and goals of the whole organization.


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