What’s Most Important – Performance or Relationship Building?

You have transitioned to a different company or department, accepted expanded responsibilities, or may still be in your initial role, and everything is running smoothly. 

What is most important now – performance or relationship building? 

Both!

Performance is an unspoken necessary condition. However, some say that business relationships are like the oil that runs through an engine, making this equally important. 

As oil keeps an engine running smoothly, business relationships grease the pathways to enable you to get things done professionally.

Whether working within an organization or as an entrepreneur, building and sustaining your professional relationships network is crucial.  

Unintended Impacts

When business relationship building appears secondary – 

📌 Others may perceive you as self-sufficient, indicating that you can make it alone without support.

📌  It creates vulnerabilities when decision-makers determine one’s readiness for next-level leadership opportunities, stretch assignments, or visibility opportunities. As a result, you may not have a voice at the table that speaks up on your behalf.

📌  There’s a shrinking sphere of leadership influence – a lost opportunity to build credibility as you get to know others.

Mine Your Network

Below are quick tips I have found helpful and will extend to you:

Internal Actions

💫 Relieve the Stress. Relationship building is not about what you get but about being present. Be open to giving without trying to sell your expertise or expect something in return.

💫 Gain clarity on your life and career purpose. Work to become more self-aware. Know your aspirations, strengths, and weaknesses, and be fluent in sharing your purpose statement. 

Kyra Rénel Hardwick, guest speaker at Houston Community College February 2023 Women’s Wednesday event, shared in her “How to PR Yourself” presentation:

“Know who you are – your origin story and what establishes you as an individual.”  

– Kyra Rénel Hardwick

External Actions

💫 Stretch – develop opportunities to interact with others. 

  • Be early for or the last to leave a meeting (even virtual meetings). Stay ready to start or engage in impromptu conversations—additionally, volunteer for organizational projects, committees, and other exposure opportunities.
  • Expand your outer reach and connections through Board service, professional associations, organized networking groups, conferences, and other community outreach and volunteer opportunities.

💫 Be a Connector. Give referrals and information to others, and connect your network connections with each other. Wisely tap into your network to ask for assistance – as you give, remember to ask for and accept support. You will get to know others, and they will get to know you.

💫 Show Wisdom With Your “Yes.” While you will likely receive invitations from your network to collaborate in various initiatives, be wise about responding affirmatively to every request. 

Harvard Business Review article shared that female managers with the most robust networks recognize that a “yes” means “no” to something else. So, they are purposeful about making commitments that will enhance relationships.

💫 Cultivate Your Relationships. As with gardening, give attention to your network. Periodically check in with your business relationships without having a need.

Also, realize that all relationships do not come to last, but some will pass through your career. So embrace change and release relationships without guilt.

What have you done to cultivate your network?  I would love to hear from you: https://www.endviewsolutions.com/contact/

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.