Cultivating Winning Relationships in 5 Minutes


By Morag Barrett on May 6, 2014

Posted by Morag Barrett | May 6, 2014Cultivating Winning Relationships in 5 MinutesA cartoon some years ago showed a manager talking to his subordinate. “My therapist says that I have to be nice to you for an hour every day. I’ve got five minutes left, so watch out!”We laugh; but what if you could cultivate the winning relationships you wanted in five minutes rather than 60? What if you could get everyone on your side without having to make-nice all day?Would that interest you?In order for this to work, you must do it in the first five minutes of your day. It won’t work if you do it at any other time. If you can’t discipline yourself for five minutes, then you’re too sick to go to work. You might as well roll over when the alarm goes off.Ready?Turn off your mobile phone, and then in the first minute, greet everyone personally, by name, in your office and with a genuine smile. That means that you smile because you mean it. If you’re faking, then no one will believe that you’re really smiling. Instead, they’ll think that you had a bad facelift.In the second minute, ask how each person is doing. You have to get past, “I’m fine” or “not too bad” or “I’m good.” Those are the lines that everyone has learned to say as employed actors. You’ll have to dig a bit deeper. That’s so that you’ll know what to do in the third minute.In the third minute, you want to take the conversations a bit further. If the person really is doing well, then ask why. If the person is struggling or has had some bad news, then express genuine sympathy. Demonstrate that you care by taking an interest in the details.Ask how you can help. It doesn’t matter if the person is feeling really upbeat or downcast. Either way, you want his or her day to get better. Find out how you can do that. It’s better to say something like, “Would you like me to . . .?” and then to make your sincere offer that will make a difference in that person’s life, than to say, “What would you like me to do?” Most people don’t know what they want you to do, and those who do will be afraid to ask you. You might say that you can’t, and then their day would get worse.In the fifth minute, tell them what you will do. You’re a manager. You care about your people. You want them to be happy. This is not rocket-science. And so that means that you should be able to think on your feet. You should be able to do something for them that will help them. So tell them right then, while you’re thinking about it, what you’ll do, for them. If you have to say something like, “I’ll see what I can do,” then make that a priority. Don’t leave that person hanging in expectation.Now you’re set for the day. You’ve just demonstrated that you really care about those you supervise. They know you do, and so do you. They are now confident enough to do their work knowing that you are happy with them. And you are now free to do your work because you are more confident in their abilities. Why? Because you know what concerns them and what it is that makes them want to celebrate.Related Articles5 Do's and Don'ts To Create Career AlliesHow many hours a week do you spend at work with your colleagues? 40? 50? 60? How many hours a week do you spend with family and friends? My guess is that, like many of the leaders I work with, you spend more time with your co-workers than you do…January 30, 2018In "Cultivating Winning Relationships"Which Came First, the Chicken or the Team?That is the question posed (sort of) by Margaret Heffernan in her May 2015 TED Talk, “Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work.” Heffernan discusses a study conducted by William Muir, an evolutionary biologist at Purdue University. Muir was interested in productivity in chickens – how many…July 7, 2015In "High Performing Teams"Nurture Your Professional Relationships to Ensure SuccessNone of us achieve success alone, the world of work is probably the biggest team sport any of us will ever take part in, and yet, at times, it can feel like our coworkers are on the opposing team rather than playing on the same side and for the same…December 23, 2014In "Cultivating Winning Relationships"Tags »Cultivating Winning RelationshipsEmotional IntelligenceHigh Performing TeamWorking with difficult people Share2
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