Total Business Magazine

Could Relationship Issues Be Preventing Your Business from Thriving?

One of the biggest potential challenges that any organisation may face is effectively managing relationship issues within its workforce. Why? The negative impact can be detrimental to success.

Below Alexandra Lichtenfeld, business mentor at Client Matters, explains for Total Business the importance in maintaining and nurturing relationships within the business workplace.

A business is usually only as good as its workforce and personnel are ordinarily the biggest asset any organisation will have. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but generally speaking the people make or break a business. So, it’s not unreasonable to draw a conclusion that when problems arise within the workforce, they can have a detrimental impact on that business. However, we tend to think of these being performance related issues within individual roles. We seldom look at relationships within an organisation and how they can create huge challenges for staff, which can then impact on performance, employee happiness, staff turnover and productivity.

All too often, issues with interpersonal relationships in the workplace can be the biggest cause of employee stress and unhappiness, which are much less likely to be caused by their actual role or commitment to their job.

Within any organisation, employees will usually hold many multifaceted relationships across lots of different stakeholder groups. Human nature determines that as individuals we are not going to get along with everybody in the same way and stronger bonds will be formed with those who complement our working styles. Often we have limited opportunity to shape the teams we work alongside and the individuals within those teams; management being the exception, but of course even then, direct reports are acquired and assumed as people move around, and in the business world this means we often have to work with people we probably wouldn’t choose to. That’s why they’re colleagues and not necessarily friends.

In my role as a business mentor, one of the most common problems I see in organisations is a breakdown or lack of establishment of relationships. These may well be between management and their staff but almost as often, they’re peer-to-peer relationships or interdepartmental ones too; people who need to be able to work effectively together to achieve great things for the business but for whatever reason cannot. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that relationship issues could impact on everybody from the intern through to the CEO.

This is where conversation and communication become pivotal. Where it’s critical to get people talking. Very much like our personal lives, talking about the challenges we face with other individuals is often half the battle to overcoming them.

Coupled with this, lots of managers may go on a short training course but are never actually coached in situ, how to manage people. They assume responsibility when it is deemed ‘their time’ but without a positive mentor to provide them with guidance in managing people, they are often thrown in the deep end and expected to sink or swim. It’s the common approach but is it the most efficient? I’ve worked with clients who have management responsibilities to implement better frameworks for managing people. Repeatedly this approach has been a really impactful way of overcoming a lot of significant relationship issues within their businesses. Often it creates a confidence in management from all levels, themselves included, increasing satisfaction and productivity as a result.

Relationship issues within an organisation need to be understood and hopefully overcome. This is critical to securing the long-term success of the employee/s facing those challenges and thus, the overall success of that business. Relationship issues are often so much more straightforward to overcome than business owners realise.

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