Your Stakeholders

A leader’s self-awareness seldom happens through hoping for the best. Self-awareness comes from actively seeking input, asking the right questions, and listening.

In your role as leader you have myriad stakeholders who influence your effectiveness as a leader and impact the outcome of your work.

Do you know the perceptions these stakeholders have of you and your work?

Many leaders work within a web of complex interdependencies – laterally, above, below and external to the company. Sometimes these leaders through handling multiple responsibilities in a fast paced, transforming environment, have taken their eyes off those stakeholder relationships that are so critical.

An exercise that has proven helpful time and again is one any leader can initiate and benefit from.

Here are the steps:

  1. Create a Stakeholder Map – include all stakeholders who impact your effectiveness and success.
  2. Using ‘red/green/yellow’ assess the health of each of those stakeholder relationships. Green: we are in synch, yellow: things could be better, re: repair work is needed.
  3. Identify a plan to repair those ‘red” relationships. How will you engage with those stakeholders? How will you create a sustainable healthy relationship? It might take humility and/or a change in perspective on your part – perhaps listening for understanding, creating new forums in which to connect.
  4. Determine what attention the ‘yellow’ relationships have not been getting, and then also ask yourself how you can better leverage the ‘green’ relationships.
  5. This work will be most valuable if you ask stakeholders: what is working well in our collaboration? What could work better?
  6. In each case, look for sustainable, on-going communication forums that will help prevent your taking your busy eyes off those relationships over time.

This is an exercise leaders can do on your own and may take a few hours over a few weeks. Armed with the knowledge that you may not have been attending to some of these stakeholder relationships as much as you’d like, you can now target those that need repair or support and make the maintenance of those relationships an ongoing part of how you do your work.

A very nice bonus is that when you put effort into your relationships with stakeholders, in most cases they are overjoyed to know someone cares and is focused on the relationship with them.