Although building, repairing and restoring get most of the attention in relationships, one of the most exciting aspects of coalition-building is maintaining relationships. These are the relationships that continue for years and often extend beyond a particular position or role. When you maintain coalition relationships, you are able to see the power of working together and celebrate the collective wins. In many coalition settings, you have an “organizational representative.” While the reason this person may participate or attend is because of her role in an organization, the reason she stays engaged is usually because she has developed relationships. Join me this week as I highlight three practices that will help you maintain your coalition relationships.
If you haven’t heard from someone in a while or they haven’t attended a meeting in a long time, reach out to them and let them know you have missed them and are thinking of them. Consider scheduling time on your calendar dedicated to checking in with your coalition members. When you proactively reach out to someone, this shows you care about them and the relationship. Although we are all busy, when we prioritize connecting with our partners, we are maintaining important coalition relationships. If you want to explore proactivity further, check out Franklin Covey resources or read 7 Habits of Highly Effective people by Stephen Covey.
One of the best parts of leading coalitions is making connections. When we are able to share resources and connect people to one another with similar interests, we are providing tremendous benefit to that person and the relationship. If you participate in something or read an article that makes you think of someone, share it with that person. When you have opportunities to promote the work of your partners and coalition members, you are also making connections and maintaining relationships. Although you may think you have to do something big to make an impact, usually the small gestures of consideration, connection and promotion go a long way in coalition relationships.
Most people who are participating in our coalitions are volunteering their time. Although they may be “required” to attend a meeting based on their organization role, they are not required to actively participate and engage. When you take the time to show gratitude for that person, you are enhancing and maintaining the relationship. Demonstrating acts of gratitude can include thanking someone for their comments via chat, openly thanking them during a meeting, sending an email or even mailing them a hand-written note. Showing gratitude for others extends beyond our coalition relationships. I was incredibly impressed with my daughter’s kindergarten teacher a couple of weeks ago and decided to write a hand-written note and send it in her folder for school. When we saw the teacher again, she said, “Thank you so much for your kind note. I needed to hear that on the day you sent it!” We never know the whole story of our coalition members and when we take time to thank them for participating and engaging with us, we maintain our relationship and often provide much-needed encouragement.
As you reflect on these practices for maintaining relationships, which one do you want to put into practice this week? Proactivity, Connectivity or Gratitude?
If you liked today’s post, you will also be interested in my free resource: 10 Partnership Pitfalls and How to Overcome Them. Download here!