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A professional services firm was facing a difficulty. There was an issue within the partnership that was proving irreconcilable. The situation was causing a fundamental breakdown of trust across the partnership and between line managers and their teams. People began subtly avoiding each other in the corridors and then failing to respond to each others memos and emails. Now no matter how hard they tried to the contrary the issue was beginning to impact the firms clients.
The second step in managing upward relationships is to build trust with your line manager.

Now of course your line manager should inspire your trust. What if your line manager isn’t proactive about building their relationship with you and doesn’t inspire trust? This blog series is about how you deliberately build an adult to adult relationship with your line manager and taking shared responsibility. In managing upward relationships there are five ways you can build trust:

    T for Talent: Be competent at what you do
    R for Reliability: Be consistently good at what you do
    U for Upstanding: Be exemplary in your conduct
    S for Synergy: Build chemistry and connection in relationships
    T for Thoughtfulness: Care about people (and not just what they can do for you)

Contrastingly weak line management is characterised by the opposite of these elements of trust building: incompetence, inconsistency, dishonesty, clumsiness and selfishness. These behaviours can quickly spiral downwards creating dysfunctional management, team performance and organisational culture.

One of the big four professional service firms that I work with have recently refocused their global purpose as ‘To build trust in society and to solve important problems’. At the heart of any advisory business is the need to win trust and confidence in managing upward relationships within your own organisation and that of your clients.

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Managing Upward Relationships Question: What can you do to win the trust of your line manager?

Author: Matt Bird is the creator of Relationology a unique approach to achieving business growth through the power of relationships. He is an international keynote speaker and author of Relationology 101.