For some sales managers who are naturally very strong in relationship talent, doing things every day to invest in relationships with their direct reports comes naturally. For the rest of us, we could use a little reminder to make sure we are taking the right actions that foster strong relationships with our people, and today’s software and app selection can help.
Before we continue this discussion, how important is developing a powerful relationship? Well, the number one response given by departing employees during exit interviews is, “My manager doesn’t care about me.” A cardinal sin in today’s war for talent.
There are many ways to develop strong relationships with your people that range from simply spending time with them to understanding their personal goals, and discussing how their work life helps them to fulfill those goals. Here are some ways to build powerful relationships.
If, like most of us, you need some help in remembering to take these actions, here are some ideas:
- Schedule specific actions on your day planner, or whatever reminder system you use. I use an app called Benjamin which allows me to schedule reminders on my calendar up to two years in advance. Our clients use our Talent Dashboard to schedule those actions based on the unique talents of each of their people and what they have learned by asking them how they are best managed.
- Use your Outlook calendar to schedule these. If you know it’s important to talk to Tabitha, one of your salespeople, at least once a quarter about how her work/life balance is going, put reminders on your calendar to ensure regular follow-up.
- If you are an analog person, just write the actions you know you need to take in your notebook or diary, whatever system you use.
Make sure each action is directed towards an individual. Relationships develop one by one, and each has its own unique demands and parameters.
No one can remember everything, and if you have six direct reports for whom you have identified three actions you need to take regularly, the numbers will tax your memory, especially with the pace of business these days.
Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says, “Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.” Reminding yourself of the importance of cultivating powerful relationships with your people and the specific actions to take should be one of those priorities.