A female leader I really admire said something so simple, yet so profound, that I felt the need to write a blog about it. This urge was reinforced when I had a real life work experience related to the sentiment. She said, “If you build good relationships, you will never need to negotiate.” Insert mind blown emoji here!
The key to being successful is in building relationships. They are literally EVERYWHERE. In our families, at our jobs, in our schools, with our friends. You cannot escape them. So what makes relationships good? In my experience, being honest has been the cornerstone in building my best relationships. Honesty builds trust and trust builds loyalty.
I spoke about integrity in my last blog. The story there was about having the integrity know I did something wrong and the courage to admit it. Similarly, it takes courage to be honest in difficult situations. The reward for just doing the right thing when challenged to do so, priceless.
I had the opportunity yesterday for an honest moment with a distant colleague (she works in another department). We were working on a difficult transaction which required several layers of approval and wasn’t specifically in line with policies. We went back and forth over email, and the last one she sent me seemed a bit curt. I emailed her back and told her how much I appreciated her, the work she does, explained that I wasn’t trying to be difficult or circumvent processes, and apologized for making a difficult transaction harder for her. She wrote back thanking me for my candor and for considering her position. She committed to helping see the transaction through, and reinforced our collective commitment to the mission of the institution.
This might seem like a trivial example, but think about the long term effects of this small action. Because I have shown my colleague who I am and how I operate, she will have a better understanding of my motivations, and we will be able to work better together on future projects. If she has a question or concern, she can contact me knowing I will give her a straight answer. Additionally, I have earned a great resource for incidental questions and a direct line for feedback where appropriate. The feedback is coming from a now trusted source, and is therefore more likely to be acted upon rather then tossed aside. Overall, interactions and transactions will be far more pleasant and efficient. Doing just a little work to build this relationship and future trust will be something I can bank in perpetuity.
I encourage you to watch this short YouTube YouTube video by Simon Sinek on honesty vs. values and the effects the two of those elements have on organizational culture. How does this resonate with you?