Unless you’re a sole proprietorship, you’ve probably seen the effects of working relationships that don’t work. Working relationships that do work are characterized by open and respectful communication, accountability and trust. Many business owners, managers and perhaps even you, think there’s not much you can do to improve the quality of communication, accountability or trust in an organization, right?? Well, you can!

Although you can’t force someone to be better at things, such as communication, accountability and trust, you can create an environment where these qualities are valued and where systems are in place to promote and help cultivate them. This can be accomplished by setting out principles for the way people work together.

Let’s start with an overview of the fundamental Principles of Working Relationships. Once you understand, implement, and integrate them into the way you do business every day, you’ll find people throughout your organization work together more cooperatively and harmoniously than ever before. That means they can invest their energy and attention in getting results for your business rather than dealing with interpersonal issues with each other.

The Principles of Working Relationships presented below are an initial set of guidelines that will help people work together harmoniously and avoid many common misunderstandings and frustrations.

There are five basic Principles of Working Relationships:

Management by Agreement.

Managers and employees agree to produce results together. Employees agree to accept their accountabilities and to do the work according to existing systems and agreed upon standards. Managers agree to provide their employees with the training, resources and support they need. Can you see how this is a win/win?

Management by Exception.

Once the system is in place or the manager and employee have agreed upon a course of action, the employee is accountable for identifying and reporting anything significant that isn’t part of the plan. Then, adjustments can be made to achieve the right result.

Guidelines for Working Interactions.

Only two kinds of relationships exist in organizations: manager-employee relationships and employee-employee relationships. In other words, either I report to you (my manager) or I don’t! You’re not my manager even though you may have an equal or higher position. Defining working relationships this way and having clear guidelines about how people interact with one another based on their positions can significantly improve communication, accountability and trust within your company.

Guidelines for Effective Delegation.

Delegation means turning over accountability to someone acting as your representative. You and your managers achieve results by delegating work to your reporting employees. These delegations are broadly defined in their position contract. Managers and employees need a framework for delegating work. That way, managers can trust that their employees will understand what work needs to be done, and employees can trust they’ll have all the information they need to get the work done!

Guidelines for Effective Regulation.

Regulating work means monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting it to get the right result. Even the most effective delegation can’t guarantee the best result all the time. Why not, you may ask! Because no matter how hard we try, or how much attention is given, communication between people is imperfect. What I think I’ve communicated is not always what I really communicated, and what I think you understood is not always what you really understood! In addition, the requirements of the project or task often change between the time the delegation is given and accepted and the time the result is delivered. Such inevitable complications make it vital that work be regulated. Think of yourself as a pilot watching the instrumentation, making course corrections to keep the airplane on track.

You can get more information on this topic in my video series, A GPS for Your Business, or if you’d like one-on-one help, please schedule your free consultation today.