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…

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