The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, May 24, 2013

BUILDING AND MAINTAINING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

One cannot do ONLY what is expected (regardless of how well that minimal assignment is performed) if one wishes to gain as much from a relationship (business, personal or professional) as one contributes. Looking back (finding comfort in what once was rather than seeking it in what has not yet materialized), remaining content within the present (rather than using the present as a springboard to the future), and doing only what works (as opposed to seeking what might work better) are all signs of relationship stagnation. In order to assure that life-changing relationships are being developed and maintained, we should strive to:

• Clarify the difference between efficient and effective communication. An e-mail may be efficient, but a conversation could more effectively resolve an issue without extended “replies and clarifications.” Effective employees make sure that every investment of time and/or energy has a direct and measurable impact on their organization’s ability to conduct business – for if it were not so, why would they be necessary? Effective relationships begin with a foundation of sharing – one of giving more than you would ever expect to take in order to receive more than you could ever dream possible.

• Avoid the misguided concept of being irreplaceable. No individual is irreplaceable BUT it should be our aspiration to become important. If an individual feels that nobody could EVER do what he or she does, that person has probably limited what he or she will ever be able to accomplish. Individuals who believe they are “critical” to another person OR an organization because of their limited and specialized role simply reinforce stagnation and the acceptance of the status quo.

• Quit believing you know all the answers. People who know to ask the right questions are much more valuable (and desirable) than those who try to give all the right answers. One must always be open to new ideas, techniques, and ways of doing things. We can truly contribute to a meaningful relationship ONLY after identifying the limitations of current processes, practices, systems and procedures by asking questions that identify and isolate deficiencies – then by taking intentional action in a manner that defines a new direction and establishes a better destination.

• ALWAYS give credit to others. Individuals who recognize and acknowledge the ideas and actions of others – rather than taking credit for thoughts that may not be their own – tend to rise more rapidly to the top and find more satisfaction in close relationships. Those taking credit for another’s ideas better like themselves a lot because they may find their once supportive friends will not be around to prop them up in the future. When credit is freely given (with accountability being assigned and accepted should mistakes occur), people learn from their mistakes (rather than being flogged for them). Ultimately, the individual initiating the thoughts and the person allowing their development will jointly own the benefits of another’s ideas allowed to grow and prosper.

A continuous source of water – of ideas – must be available if we wish a pond to become a lake – and an even greater source must exist if we seek to expand a lake into an ocean. For one to realize “what could be” rather than simply bringing to fruition “what is,” a variety of ideas and abilities must be channeled into a single solution rather than being diverted into unrelated tributaries that flow uncontrolled away from the goal. It is only by giving without expectation that we will ever receive without limitation.