It’s not easy to build meaningful relationships. It’s why we likely don’t have too many over the course of our lifetimes. We maybe have a handful of really good friends during our lives. The same is true for family members.
And sometimes these relationships occur at work. And that can lead to some great things. The relationship can be great on both a personal and professional level. It can lead to better work and improved work from yourself and from the other person.
Let’s say you’re the leader of a franchise. You want to explore more meaningful relationships with franchisees. It can be a great thing for all involved and great for the business too.
Here are a few thoughts on how to do it.
1. Build To Deeper Conversations
Small talk can be great. It’s a way to learn a little about another person. It’s a way to get updates on how things are going with a business. But if you’re looking for more meaningful conversations then the first thing to do is to build deeper conversations. You, as the leader, will probably need to be the one to take the first step. Offer a story about yourself. Maybe something about your history in business. But it could also be something about your personal life.
Try to find common ground with the other person. Don’t be offended if they don’t take in your first or second stories with great interest. They are likely still feeling out the relationship. Try to judge the situation. Don’t keep pushing if the other person doesn’t seem interested. But look for the right topics as you look to build something meaningful.
2. Focus On Their Positives
People like to be around positive people. It doesn’t mean that to have a meaningful relationship with someone that you have to be positive all the time. But it means that it’s usually better to focus on the good that people are doing instead of pointing out negatives or perceived negatives.
In terms of franchisees, it is generally good for you to have a full picture of their performance as well. Try to find what they’re good at doing. See if you can help in other ways where they may struggle, but keep conversations focused on the positives of what they’re doing.
3. Avoid Text & Email (For Meaningful Conversation)
Texts and emails are great business tools. But when it comes to quality conversations it’s better to pick up the phone or to meet in person. There is so much to human interaction that gets lost in digital messages. So if you’re looking for better relationships with franchisees, make sure you’re setting aside time for voice conversations or meetings in person if possible.
4. Hold Back Advice
It’s really tricky as a franchise manager not to be the one giving advice. It’s really part of your job to help answer questions and to help the franchisees with their job. But for something more meaningful and personal, try to hold back on the advice. It’s usually not what people are looking for from conversation. They may just be looking for someone to listen. Maybe it’s something in the business that’s frustrating. Maybe they’re just working through something in their personal life.
Try to listen and show that you hear them and understand them. Ask questions. Maybe help them come to their own conclusions. But don’t be quick with the advice unless they really ask for it.
5. Follow Through On Promises
A big key to early friendships and meaningful relationships is making sure you follow through. If you promise that you will be somewhere at a certain time, be there. If you say that you will get something done for someone, make sure it happens.
An early broken promise can derail a relationship. It can still be cordial and professional, but promises are like little tests. The other person is watching to see if they can count on you. Even little things are indications that maybe you can’t be trusted with anything bigger.
Meaningful relationships are very possible in the franchise world. Especially for smaller or growing franchises. The relationships between franchisors and franchisees is important. It’s important that they are professional, but it can be really wonderful for all involved if they are meaningful.