Wednesday 20 March 2019

Successful stakeholder relationship skills

It’s International Day of Happiness today. Most of us will have a good sense of what makes us happy outside of work but, given that we spend most of our waking life at work, it makes sense that a feeling of contentment at work contributes to our overall happiness.

Positive personal interaction makes the world go round and one of the keys to happiness at work is the relationships we form with our colleagues and other stakeholders. By learning how to build productive connections with other people, we can improve our overall happiness and mental wellbeing.

Stakeholder management is usually regarded as a business process. This assumes that relationships are rational and that we can manage these interactions in a documented way. What this fails to address is that stakeholders are human beings and, as such, operate on an emotional level. By appreciating both the rational and emotional aspects of stakeholder relationships we can build deeper connections that deliver mutually beneficial results. Here are some tried and tested tips to help you connect with your colleagues and co-workers.

Accept that you are dealing with people, not processes

The first step in relationship building is appreciating that people don’t always behave in a consistent or predictable way. Every relationship requires effort and an appreciation of where other people are coming from. That’s how you build trust – and people work better with people that they trust and respect. When building relationships with people at work, it’s pays to try and look beyond their job titles to see what drives and motivate them on an emotional level. You can read more on how to do this in this article from Psychology Today.

Give and take goes a long way to building goodwill

Learning the art of compromise is essential to building mutually beneficial relationships in the workplace. Far from it being about giving in, it’s more about understanding and accepting that there are always different viewpoints in any given situation. Give and take is about respecting the opinions of others and being prepared to change your own expectations and priorities – perhaps even your proposed plan of action - for the good of your personal relationships.

Say what you mean and do what you say

Decisiveness is essential to building productive stakeholder relationships, especially if you want to take people with you on a particular course of action. Collaboration and consensus have their place and are laudable, but ultimately people respect those colleagues who are not afraid to make decisions when needed to. Working with people who constantly sit on the fence or are always looking to others for approval and agreement can be very frustrating for co-workers. Taking decisions shows that you are responsible and this is a solid basis on which to build trust with stakeholders.

Successful stakeholder management takes time. It’s worth remembering that difficult relationships with colleagues and stakeholders at work can be emotionally draining and very distracting, which can impact your own performance, so it really pays to make the effort to make your work relationships positive. You can find more tips on how to build beneficial work relationships in this Psychology Today article.

These are our ideas for building successful stakeholder relationships. What would you add to the list? Please comment below and let us know…

Monday 18 March 2019

Leaders need to recharge their batteries too

We get it. Everyone is working hard, business conditions are extremely tough at the moment – especially with the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU – and employers are expecting their teams to deliver more, with less.

As a leader, there can be an added pressure of being seen to be extra resilient and hard-working. Your team look to you to take the lead and you want to set a good example. It’s true that as a leader, you set the bar for your team. They embody and emulate the work values and ethic that you project. However, it’s also true that when you work too hard, neglecting your own self-care, this can negatively impact the team around you.

When a leader is fully engaged and emotionally / physically well, your team will flourish. Driving your people forward when your own battery is running low is nigh on impossible. Not only will your ability to make decisions confidently be impaired, the energy you project onto others is catching and will result in an apathetic work environment.

It’s not easy to see for yourself when you are functioning at less than your optimal levels, but there are a couple of red flags to watch out for.


When we're running on empty, even the smallest of things can irritate us. Events that we'd happily navigate previously, really irk us. If you're finding it difficult to take everyday events in your stride, it’s time to take some time out!


Our natural instinct, when we're well rested and focussed, is to put the needs of our team before our own. A sure sign that you need to practise some self care is when you're more concerned with what’s going on in your own life, than the wellbeing of others.

Of course, identifying that you need to recharge is just the first step. We need to do something about it. This article from Psychology Today  gives some valuable insight into how well-known leaders mix business with leisure to give their best to their teams. And while most of us are unable to follow Bill Gate’s example of a regular ‘think week’ in a wood cabin, we can all find ways to regularly give our brain the break it needs. Here’s how:

Build some short bursts of reflection time into your diary – mark it as busy / do not disturb – and use this time to really think about something totally unrelated to work. Complete a crossword, do some colouring, read a chapter of a book. Switching your brain up from time to time actually helps to rewire your thinking and make you more focussed.

Living in a digital age is exhausting, we never switch off. Promise yourself – and your family – that you will set regular time aside every day when you will unplug completely. The freedom this gives your brain cannot be underestimated, as it allows you to be fully ‘present’ in other activities.

We talked about getting closer to nature in one of our previous posts - it’s a great way to recharge - spending even a small amount of time outside everyday can really help to clear the mind and re-energise the soul.

These are our ideas for recharging your batteries – what works for you? Share your ideas below…