Whether starting a new role, taking on a new project or simply looking to increase your profile, there are lots of factors beyond your direct control that will influence your success. However, one critical element within your direct control is the investment you make in building productive relationships at work, whether with your boss, other senior stakeholders or former peers you now need to lead.

Building Better Relationships

During our work with in-house lawyers, we regularly support people who are looking to engage the broader business. Often they want to be seen as commercial advisers, not as part of a "business prevention unit" or the team who come in during the project and say no.

So what are five actions you can take today to build better relationships at work?

1. Take time - when you take on a new role or new responsibilities, your network will need to change, as will relationships within your existing network. Take time to engage with your key stakeholders and avoid the temptation to deliver 'the grand plan' in your first week! 

2. Take responsibility for building new relationships – you need to flex your own style to suit that of senior or influential stakeholders. 

3. Identify what is important – focus on what matters and identify the three things that are critical to your key stakeholders, then tailor your communication around them.

4. Pay attention – be aware of how information and feedback about you will get back to your boss or others. Make a special effort with those whose opinions are respected.

5. Start as you mean to go on - if you find yourself leading former peers, re-engage those who you know to be good. Talk to them and start to understand how you can work together to benefit both your goals. 

One of the in-house lawyers we spoke to, who recently took on a General Counsel role in a FTSE 100 organisation, shared their insight: 

I found my first few days were critical in terms of how I was received. I made sure that my early actions emphasised the messages I wanted to be famous for. I believe that to build truly effective relationships, you need to demonstrate your credibility and trustworthiness.”

The Client Development Centre offers a 100-day coaching programme, designed to support in-house lawyers who have moved to a new role. This content comes from one of six modules designed to support you during this exciting and challenging time. Find out more about our 100-day coaching programme here. 

What tips would you add to our list? Email me and let me know!

Greg Bott

Greg Bott

Director of AG Consulting
London, UK

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