Effective Solutions Through Partnership

3 Tips on Using Servant Leadership to Build Successful Relationships

Co-working, Communications, Employee Engagement, Human Resources, KAI Partners, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, The WorkShop

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D, SHRM-CP, CSM, LSSGB

As a People Operations Manager (traditionally, an HR Manager), my focus is relationship centric. From relationship management to talent management and everything in between, people are at the center of what I do—hence my job title!

Without strong relationships, I would not be able to do my job effectively. Business relationships are important both outside and inside of the organization. Strong relationships lead to strong teams. These are important in any organization because there is an ability to accomplish more together than as individuals. But how does one go about building strong and resilient relationships?

Relationships fundamentally, must be two pronged. There must be effort made on both sides for a strong working relationship to develop. The expectation must be mutual where all parties feel that equal participation and effort are being put forth. This creates accountability and reliability as well. Managing that expectation is important to making sure everyone is on the same page.

In my organization, we have always worked in teams in one way or another. I have worked with teams as small as two and as large as eight. As an introvert, working on teams was not always my first choice; however, I’ve come to not only appreciate the team dynamic but in some instances, I rely on those relationships when I’m stuck or just need to talk through something that I am working on. And, I am able to offer the same to my colleagues as well, because we have built that relationship.

Ideally, the focus of the relationship is not what you can get out of it.

Relationships are about what you put into it and what you can offer the other person, like the sharing of ideas and strengths to get to the best possible outcome.

In my opinion, a relationship needs be cultivated and built. One way this can be done is through a servant leadership approach or attitude, which demonstrates care and compassion. It is the will to serve others first. Here are a few ideas to demonstrate how using a servant leadership approach can assist you in developing strong lasting relationships and teams.

  1. Demonstrate and Encourage: Build the kind of relationship and team you want through example. Let others see you serve and it will naturally encourage that behavior in others. People see what you do and if you are serving others that in turn cultivates strong relationships and teams, it will catch on and others will want to join you.
  2. Invest: Give others your time. Offer to assist with projects, brainstorm together, etc. Let people know that you’re not too busy to assist them. Everyone’s time is valuable—show that by giving away some of yours.
  3. Care: One of the best ways we can build relationships in through example. The way we treat others is a direct reflection on how we want to be treated. Showing care for others is a fundamental stepping stone to building a strong, resilient, and lasting relationship.

KAI Partners recently celebrated 15 years of doing business in California. One way we’ve accomplished this is by fostering our relationships. Our new co-working space, The WorkShop – Sacramento, follows this same model. If you’re looking for a community of individuals who are always willing to talk through an issue or help one another succeed, then look no further than The WorkShop.

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners. Melissa is passionate about human behavior and knowledge transfer and believes that human capital drives any organization to success. Melissa is a CSM, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and SHRM-Certified Professional. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. She is ardent about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), going to the movies, spending time with her munchkins, line dancing, being with friends and wine tasting.

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