Article (October-2017)


Collaboration is the key to harmonious workplace relationship

Vikas Khokha

Designation : -   Director - Human Resources

Organization : -  Zimmer India Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon


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As I looked at my experience with seasoned business leaders, young managers & aspiring leaders, I realised that there is a clear need of stakeholder management to be able to evolve as a successful professional in any of these stages. Normally stakeholders are viewed as immediate superiors and subordinates, however, we work in a highly matrix environment where the components are sensitive across work-place spectrum. Here are few of the scenarios which have been calibrated by self as I ran through my experiences with the real life examples:
1. Accountability highly helps in developing confidence amongst stakeholders. The issue is not in a timely response but taking ownership for the closure of the issues. Recommendation is to seek better support and confidence in generating the possibility of arriving at the solution and looking at the broader picture creating an impression of being there.
2. Respect for others is a very critical parameter which I have observed helps in managing relationships across the levels. Respect could actually be defined in terms of the tone, listening ability and response time. Even smaller gestures like being before time, no - reminders & ability to bring in the focus would help in enhancing professional bonding with peers.
3. The level of communication plays a critical role in developing stronger relationships and credibility with superiors. Mostly there are assumptions that the communication on certain trivial issues may not be necessary and it is very obvious. A communication with the sense of ownership helps individuals to gauge the progress and avoid any apprehensions.
4. Behaviourally I have consistently observed that the "side-talks" aggravates enmity and destroys relationships even when future deliveries are in time. Better strategy to keep quiet or talking about that person to him/her rather than anyone else could be the best method.
5. Development plans really help in gauging the direction, journey and desired end state for the individuals for better productivity and results. The result orientation is the best regarded sentiment with a clear definition of desired end state and working towards it.
6. One needs to understand the organisation's values and adhere to the best examples in order to showcase the same. It's not about remembering the values by heart bit ensuring practical exhibition in the processes. The idea is that values are commonly understood by people in the organisation or could also be referred communication links which could be easily understood. Values help us to bind with people better and understand expectations better.
7. Most of my past superiors encouraged discussions and diverse point of views with an intent to generate better solutions. This practice certainly helped enhancing credibility and ensuring appropriate engagement. Collaboration is definitely the key to arriving at homogeneous relationships at the workplace and also checking out on right perspectives for better solutions. Opinions presented on the table help getting right balance.
8. Key understanding of the value chain is also very important for the stakeholder management interconnected delivery of value should happen at each defined stage for the same to be recognised at top or the bottom level. Weather it's the recognition or the support, it needs to be realised by each component in the value chain. 
9. Understanding the larger vision of the organisation and associated competencies and deliverables help in collaborating the expectations and requirements well. This could help developing strategic intent and covering the large macro scenario along with micro details conceiving the end to end proportion of the task at hand. 
10. Periodic self - reviews and performance updates also helps in demarcating the expectations largely and shares the stages and perspectives of the work reviews. Pro-activeness largely helps in getting better scores. 
11. Getting a list of competencies which is domain - functional and behavioural helps in getting a right calibration of the expectation levels and helps in objectively scoring the expectation and setting right bench marks for one's position. At the workplace. 
As I looked through my career journey and especially my experience with managers of various grades, the above thoughts certainly appeared to be key quadrants in defining the needs which helped fulfilling the requirements either at the top or at the bottom. Largely one could not view this in isolated scenario as the management of remaining stakeholders also helped in defining the needs better. This also helped in answering a lot of questions posed by employees when they did not see objective assessment basis which their results or scores were calibrated. Largely it was observed pro-activeness of understanding this relationship could help in developing better understanding and balanced approached towards this symmetry. I have encapsulated this through the figurative model below which helps in making the above understood better.