Engineering Leadership Principle #7: Building Client Relationships

Jul 7, 2020 | Leadership | 0 comments

By Slawomir Domagala, Structural Reliability Engineer and Lifting and Rigging Lead, Brindley Engineering (formerly)

Building Relationships

In military conflicts, combat forces are tested mentally, physically and spiritually. Very often, officers are forced to lead their troops into dangerous situations. Great leaders promise their troops that they themselves will be the first person leading the charge and the last to leave. Then, they deliver on that promise. Those young leaders not only show tremendous courage and spirit, but also build strong relationships with their troops. Those leaders show first-hand that they value their comrades lives as much as their own, deepening the authentic relationship between leader and troop.

In our recent leadership training as well as in the book “Extreme Ownership”, authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin discuss at length the importance of building relationships between team and client. They stress that in most situations a leader is either building up or using his or her “leadership capital”. In my own professional life at Brindley Engineering (BE), when BE responds to an emergency at a Client facility we occasionally need to ask our team members to work over the weekend.  In this kind of instance, we are using leadership capital. In turn, when a teammate comes to a leader with a personal emergency that may prevent them from finishing a task on time, a good leader can either re-delegate the task at hand or take it upon themselves to finish the job to alleviate stress from the teammate experiencing an emergency. What it comes down to is:  Don’t ask of others to do what you are not willing to do yourself. Don’t expect your team to support you if you don’t support them. These concepts are easy to understand but very difficult to perfect.

BE places a great emphasis on building strong relationships inside the organization and with clients. We pride ourselves on providing top service when our clients need it the most. When an emergency occurs at a client facility, we want them to call us! Every time we answer that kind of call, we are building that relationship. Building relationships and being there in a time of need is a key part of one of BE’s Core Values: Reliability. We strive to balance between spending and building up leadership capital to be able to respond to emergencies. We strive to meet this challenge by regularly checking with our teammates and checking their workload versus satisfaction versus challenge. Our leaders are receptive, and we have open communication with our teams and build trusting relationships internally and externally, so teammates feel confident to approach our leaders when personal issues conflict with work demands or to avoid overwork.

Like with most things in life, it all comes down to relationships.

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