By following these four key principles, organizationsÂ can build strong teams to reduce turnover.
By Dr. Randy Ross
People and organizations thrive in relationally rich environments.Â When organizations put people above profits, their prioritiesÂ produce rich dividends both culturally and economically. The heartÂ of any business is its people, and the best organizations serveÂ people well, both internally and externally.
While this may seem to be common sense, applying principles thatÂ nourish healthy relationships in the workplace is not commonÂ practice. Poor relationships will almost always lead to poorÂ performance. Conversely, crafting a culture where people playÂ well together in the sandbox will reap rich returns. By employingÂ the following four fundamental relational principles, leadersÂ can cultivate healthy relationships, develop strong teams, reduceÂ turnover, and experience organizational growth.
1. Intentionality. Wherever people gather, there will be a culture.Â Culture is built on values, beliefs, and behaviors. That culture isÂ either going to be by design, giving it thoughtful reflection andÂ working to continuously move it in a positive direction, or it will beÂ one by default. Without intentionality, leaders may wake up oneÂ day and not like the culture that has developed.
To develop great talent and organizations, leaders must first lookÂ inward and be willing to do the hard work of self-examination.Â Understanding the role of relationships in business and then beingÂ intentional about how relationships are brought into play in everyÂ area of the work environment is key to harnessing their power.Â Leaders should be intentional about:
- Developing a plan for relational development rather than simplyÂ âdrifting.â
- Surrounding themselves with people who will encourage,Â challenge, and sharpen them.
- Practicing vulnerability by being authentic and transparent.
- Facilitating healthy relationships by establishing a growth-focusedÂ community rather than merely seeking to deliver content.
- Fostering collaboration over competition.
- Valuing interpersonal relationships over technology in order toÂ build a team-like bond.
- Remembering that the fastest way to success is to ensure theÂ success of others.
- Believing the best in others and wanting the best for themÂ before expecting the best from them.
- Never losing sight of the fact that people work with them, notÂ for them.
- Providing strong coaching and developmental opportunities forÂ their team members.
2. Humility. As much as humility is talked about in leadership circles,Â itâs still widely misunderstood. At its core, humility is the ability toÂ see oneself honestly and without pretense. Itâs being authentic.Â People who possess humility can genuinely celebrate the strengthsÂ of others without letting it threaten their own sense of self.
Humility breeds authenticity. And authenticity produces empathy.Â And when it comes to cultivating relationships and building trust,Â empathy is everything.
Companies that treat people like pawns never experience the fullÂ benefit of having teams comprised of mature and deeply bondedÂ individuals who believe in one another and feel that others haveÂ their best interests at heart.
Leaders who demonstrate humility:
- Offer constructive, developmental feedback in an atmosphere ofÂ grace so that significant growth can occur.
- Recognize that remarkable people are worthy of a secondÂ chance.
- Want the best for their peopleâwhether that is with theÂ organization or somewhere else where they are more fulfilled.
- Make decisions by blending reason and emotion, without oneÂ dominating the other.
- Seek and receive feedback well and use it to catalyze personalÂ growth.
- Promote unity.
- Create safe environments that enable collaborative andÂ productive work.Â
- Ask their teams how they can serve them betterâthey donâtÂ guess or speculate.
- Are not afraid to address individuals who do not provide value toÂ the team or are causing issues.
3. Accountability. Great leaders are accountable for corporateÂ success and the success of their team. Great leaders also hold theirÂ team members accountable. And when it comes to building dreamÂ teams, there are three elements that must be present for teamÂ members to bring their best effort to each endeavor: ownership,Â accountability, and responsibility.
If leaders want people to take ownership of the process and beÂ responsible for the results, they must empower them with theÂ authority to make the decisions necessary to make it happen.Â Giving responsibility without authority will lead to frustration.Â With authority comes accountability.
When everyone is held accountable, details are thoroughly coveredÂ and deadlines are met because actions are coordinated. Gaps areÂ closed. Information flows freely and collaboration is encouraged toÂ maximize the talent of the team. Accountability breeds awareness,Â and awareness creates synergy because everyone knows whatÂ others are doing and can leverage their strengths effectively.
Leaders who value accountability:
- Are intent on preserving the safety and protecting the integrityÂ of their team, even if it requires evasive action.
- Never tax good team members with picking up the slack forÂ someone elseâs poor performance rather than holding theÂ responsible individual accountable.
- Proactively provide a plan for conflict resolution and commit toÂ maintaining unity by working through conflict to resolution.
- Seek to understand the perspective of the other person, notÂ merely defending their own.
- Provide ongoing feedback through coaching conversations,Â providing insight and aligning personal passions andÂ organizational objectives.
- Ask provocative questions that spark productive conversation.
- Understand the growth process and assist their team membersÂ in assessing both where they are and how to advance towardÂ maturity.
- Build a highly functioning team by focusing on the individualÂ growth of each team member.
4. Sustainability. Corporate culture is an expression of the healthÂ of relationships. Leaders must be wholeheartedly committed toÂ providing the resources necessary to cultivate strong and lastingÂ relationships among individuals and teams if they want theirÂ efforts to be sustainable. Ultimately, clarity and unity are the resultÂ of healthy relationships. Clarity and unity will lead to productivity.Â Likewise, the quality of relationships will determine customerÂ loyalty.
Leaders who produce sustainable results:
- Lead beyond self-interest. They are rooted in reality, emotionallyÂ centered, relationally rich, results-oriented, others-focused, andÂ mission-minded.
- Hire remarkable people and craft a remarkable culture.
- Slow down the hiring process to ensure there is a values matchÂ between the organization and the candidate.
- Invest in their people so heavily that they become equipped to goÂ anywhere and be successful.
- Invest deeply in their most valuable clients.
- Leverage influence rather than force.
- Share their relationships and knowledge with their teamÂ members.
- Express appreciation to reinforce the fact that team members doÂ not operate in isolation but are independent.
Relational integrity produces cohesiveness and collaboration.Â Depth and transparency of relationships contributes to theÂ retention of top talent in the life of the organization. WhenÂ healthy relationships are present, people find fulfillment in theirÂ work and productivity soars. When relationships are rich, peopleÂ are simply happier. Business, to be effective, must be powered byÂ healthy relationships. Leading with these four principles will takeÂ any organization to the next level.
Dr. Randy Ross is founder and CEO of Remarkable! and the author of “Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships.”