Ten Ways to Build Great Partnerships

Partnership3As the internet provides vast amounts of new information every day, it becomes more and more challenging to keep up with the skills, knowledge, and expertise we need to do our jobs.  Working with partners is becoming a way of lightening the load.  Developing alliances to share different perspectives and cooperate on mutual goals is necessary to sustain success.  Watching the Emmy’s the other day, I noticed that even the writer awards were given to partners.  As the partners were interviewed, they shared who contributed which type of idea and how they balanced each other with their content.  Partnership is becoming the new “norm” as things have become too complicated to do it all ourselves.

As much as partnerships have their advantages, keeping things equitable can be problematic. High degrees of interpersonal skills are required to maintain harmony in partnerships and that involves emotional intelligence (EQ). In Daniel Goleman’s Harvard Business Review article “What Makes a Leader?”, he defined the components of EQ as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. He elaborated the importance of EQ in this article by stating, “But when I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as an ingredient of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels.”  So no matter how brilliant a person is, if they do not have the EQ to engage and partner with other people, their success will be limited.

To gain insights on building partnerships, I asked some of my clients about what they do to build trusted and engaged partnerships.  Here is what they said:

1.   Active listening – have the courage to listen to other’s perspectives and take effective action

2.   Earn trust, learn to trust, and show respect – demonstrate character and competence

3.   Make communication a two-way dialogue in which goals and expectations are clarified

4.   Have honest dialogue when trust is threatened or conflict surfaces – negotiate differences

5.   Be consistent, keep your agreements, and be transparent

6.   Ask other’s for feedback – find out what you do that helps or hinders them

7.   Think and understand before you respond or react

8.   Collaborate to make processes more efficient for achieving the end result

9.   State opinions as your perspective not as fact.  Ask for other’s opinions and ideas.

10. Maintain positive connections with your internal customers for positive impact on external customers

Building partnerships and maintaining them takes a lot of effort, but with practice, we can all get better at it and create more positive opportunities for each other.