Leadership Reflections: Building Relationships in the Workplace

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Based on assigned readings in Module 5 (“Colorado State University,” 2012), this journal entry reviews the author’s strategies as a change management consultant for building and improving relationships in client organizations. The discussion then considers the effectiveness of these strategies relative to the author’s workplace environment including the author’s approach for mitigating relationship issues in the event the strategies prove ineffective. Strategies for Building and Improving Relationships The effectiveness of a political navigator depends on strong interpersonal relationships built through competent communication and respectful action (Cialdini, 2001; Gilley, 2006; Lewicki, Barry, & Saunders, 2006). As Cummings and Worley (2009) observe, “Establishing a healthy relationship at the onset makes it more likely that the client’s desired outcomes will be achieved . . .” (p. 81). Therefore, as a consultant, the author predominantly relies on two sets of sequentially reinforcing strategies for initiating and creating synergistic client relationships. Strategies for Initiating Client Engagement The first set comprises four “initiating” strategies for influencing positive client engagement: displaying an engaging personality, identifying with clients, developing mutual interests, and practicing reciprocity. Displaying an engaging friendly personality – a prerequisite for building relationships (Cialdini, 2001; Gilley, 2006) – creates initial positive perceptions and helps establish personal rapport. Identifying with clients on their level (Gilley, 2006) by altering personal communication style, language, dress, and behaviors to match with their cultural norms, reinforces perceptions of the author’s willingness to ackn... ... middle of paper ... ...anizations (pp. 2-4). Greenwood Village, CO: Author Cummings, T., & Worley, C. (2009). Organizational development & change (9th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. Gilley, J. (2006). The manager as politician. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. Kouzes J., & Posner, B. (2007). The leadership challenge (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Lewicki, J. R., Barry, B., & Saunders, M. D. (2006). Negotiation: Readings, Exercises and Cases (5th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. Schein, E. (2004). Organizational culture and leadership (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization (revised ed.). New York: Random House. Vecchio, R. (Ed.). (2007). Leadership: Understanding the dynamics of power and influence in organizations (2nd ed.). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
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