Rich Relationships

rich relationships

Rich Relationships

How well do you know the people you work with? What’s important to them? What motivates them? What they enjoy doing?


One core aspect of being a great people leader is developing rich relationships with colleagues. I define a rich relationship as one where both people feel valued and respected, they listen, support, challenge and disagree with each other and still do great work together. How often do you say ‘how are you?’ and really listen to the answer? Being fully present, reflecting back what you heard, being genuinely interested and curious are all simple ways to be there. Conversely playing conversational ‘top trumps’ where you say me too, talk in depth about yourself and unwillingly transfer the focus to you hinders a rich relationship. I am not saying don’t talk about yourself, I am saying don’t have the default of going first.


Gallup are so sure about the importance of relationships for employee engagement that one of the Gallup 12 questions is ‘my manager cares about me as a person’. The listening skills of empathising, paraphrasing and acknowledging all come into play.


Without using the following questions as a script, here are some suggested approaches and questions you can weave into what you already do:

  • What did you enjoy about last week?
  • What important to you this week?
  • What can I do to help you enjoy your job even more?
  • How can I help you achieve it?


And of course you can ask how are you? And genuinely mean it.

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