The top 12 stakeholder relationship secrets every leader must know

[3 min read]

How to take business relationships to the next level.

Relationships are important in every aspect of life, and the professional environment is no exception. Strong business relationships will ensure staff retention and loyalty, customer satisfaction and growth, and heighten your reputation so you can achieve your vision and goals.

It is important for you to explore your needs in a stakeholder relationship and to know what you require from others. Likewise reflect on what they need from you. Understanding these needs and knowing how to positively fulfil them is instrumental for building long-lasting relationships.

Following are the top 12 stakeholder relationship secrets that will assist you to establish and strengthen your bonds within your professional environment:

 

1 Boost your communication skills

If you want to build strong stakeholder relationships, your communication skills play an important role. These include actively listening, asking questions, and showing true care to learn more about others which is the foundation of relationships.

When we are listening to a team member, manager or customer, we must provide undivided attention to their message and give them the opportunity to share with us details about their life, their challenges or their frustrations. People respond positively to those who listen more than they talk; your stakeholders feel understood and will quickly regard you as somebody they can trust.

Once you listened and acknowledged the other person, ask questions and encourage open communication. By doing so, you show that you truly care about them, their circumstances and their contribution to the team or organisation.

Through caring, listening and asking questions, you promote open communication so that others will be encouraged to share with you their concerns, celebrations, or anything else that makes or breaks relationships. Your communication skills will influence the quality of your stakeholder relationships.

 

2 Set aside time to build relationships

As everything else, building strong stakeholder relationships requires dedication and time: “Nothing comes from nothing”.

The whirlwind of urgent daily tasks often detracts from the importance of setting aside regular time slots to enhance and strengthen relationships.

 

3 Respect your stakeholders’ time

Time is the most precious resource everybody has and accessing your stakeholders’ time should be treated as a privilege.

Be mindful when contacting somebody for assistance or information as to not to interrupt their workflows or deep thoughts and be considerate by sticking to meeting times or deadlines. Respecting other people’s time is equal to respecting them as a person and will benefit your interpersonal relationship in the long run.

 

4 Use your manners

Being courteous and polite to others should be a no-brainer for building strong relationships. However, too often we forget basic manners when we are busy and under the pump.

Greeting people at the beginning of a workday, calling them by their name, being humble, and regularly contributing to small office tasks do not cost you anything but convey a strong message to others.

 

5 Offer and accept support

A great way to build strong relationships is to offer support when someone is in need, overwhelmed or struggling. It often doesn’t require much but lending a hand when you have some time or resources to spare can go a long way.

Equally, asking for or accepting support will help you keep on top of things, and open up opportunities to get to know stakeholders and strengthen relationships. If you have previously offered your assistance, other people are often more than happy to repay the favour and lend you a hand.

 

6 Create healthy boundaries

We all want to be in other people’s good books and have friends in all areas of life, including at work. We must keep in mind, however, that healthy relationships call for healthy boundaries.

Especially when we are promoted into a superior role, previous friendships can impact other stakeholder relationships or a particularly close bond with people can monopolise our time.

5 Offer and accept support

A great way to build strong relationships is to offer support when someone is in need, overwhelmed or struggling. It often doesn’t require much but lending a hand when you have some time or resources to spare can go a long way.

Equally, asking for or accepting support will help you keep on top of things, and open up opportunities to get to know stakeholders and strengthen relationships. If you have previously offered your assistance, other people are often more than happy to repay the favour and lend you a hand.

 

 6 Create healthy boundaries

We all want to be in other people’s good books and have friends in all areas of life, including at work. We must keep in mind, however, that healthy relationships call for healthy boundaries.

Especially when we are promoted into a superior role, previous friendships can impact other stakeholder relationships or a particularly close bond with people can monopolise our time.

 

7 Be reliable and accountable

Nothing is more detrimental to your business relationships than a reputation of being unreliable. In business, all responsibilities, tasks and deadlines are interconnected. Hence, if you fail to keep your commitments, stakeholders are inevitably affected.

You must ensure to keep your commitments and deliver on your responsibilities, and clearly communicate any difficulties to comply due to a busy work schedule.

 

8 Assist others to excel through constructive feedback

Strong, long-lasting relationships grow from an environment of encouragement, trust and support. Everybody in the organisation, even our suppliers or customers, have talents, skills and experience which, if cultivated and harnessed effectively, will add to the business success. Make sure that you notice, praise and compliment their contributions to increase motivation and hence individual’s impact on reaching the organisational goals and vision.

We all know that feedback is the breakfast for champions, and that it is important to welcome and cherish feedback so we can grow as a leader. And it is equally important to help other people progress and find their greatness. Providing constructive feedback at the right time and in the right state will help them understand how well they are doing and advance in their skills and capabilities.

 

9 Accept responsibility and acknowledge mistakes

We are all human and mistakes happen. Assuming responsibility is no sign of weakness; it is a leadership trait that evokes respect and trust.

Admit mistakes if you made them yourself, and refrain from publicly (or privately) naming and blaming others for their failures. More often than not, it is a work system or process that leads to human errors and it is more important to find the cause and come up with a solution, than to point the finger.

 

10 Recognise and share credit for contributions

Make sure that you recognise great work and contributions, share the credit for people’s input and celebrate successes big and small. Sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done, team’ can be incredibly motivating for those around you.

It takes time to consciously thank, reward, recognise and credit those who help you succeed, but it is an important element of building strong relationships.

 

11 Refrain from gossiping

The major relationship killers in a professional environment are gossip and office politics. Engaging in it will damage your reputation, cause mistrust and hostility, and definitely weaken relationships.

Challenges and conflict are part of every human environment, but it can be handled in a professional and timely manner. When conflict arises, be direct rather than gossiping behind people’s backs so you can together find a solution.

 

12 Appreciate, motivate, and inspire others

Appreciating everybody who contributes to the success of the organisation will foster a positive, supportive culture – both internally and externally. If you genuinely show appreciation and compliment the people around you for what they do, it will open many doors for strong relationships.

 

 

These 12 tips are straight forward and easy to implement in your daily work life, so you can start today. They will vastly improve your interpersonal bonds and bring your stakeholder relationships to the next level (PS: if you want to download the extended version of this article, simply click here.)

 

“Dare to make a difference!”

#WeMakeItEasy #LeadershipSkills

 

Make sure you download the extended version of this article

… and improve your stakeholder relationships even more!

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Martin Probst

AUTHOR | Martin Probst - CEO (Chief Education Officer)

 

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