All successful leaders have great relationship-building skills

and by cultivating key relationships, leaders can be in a position to guide the organization toward achieving their goals and objectives. A key part of building relationships is identifying the leader’s role in providing clear strategic communication and having the leader coach others in developing tactical communication and their own leadership skills.  Business relationship managers should view themselves as leaders and work to develop these skills.

Focus on shared understanding, not just execution

We all know that good communication is vitally important to every organization. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, one definition of communication is “the exchange of information and the expression of feeling that can result in understanding.” These days communication has become less strategic and more transactional, focusing on the fact that the information has been sent out rather than developing targeted content that will lead to a shared understanding and achieving the desired outcome. This disconnect can create intangible issues such as confusion, lack of productivity and innovation, and negatively impact the message sender’s credibility.


Ineffective communication always causes a loss of productivity

There is also tangible proof that ineffective communication can adversely affect your organization. According to The State of Business Communication report by Grammarly and the Harris Poll, nearly nine out of ten business leaders have dealt with the negative effects of communication issues. In addition, ineffective communication causes employees to lose an average of almost seven and a half hours of productivity during their work week. In the US alone, poor communication can translate into as much as $1.2 trillion in lost revenue annually.

Who is going to deliver what message?

While these facts and figures are concerned with communicating in general, business relationship managers frequently cite challenges in being strategic in their communications. For organizational messaging to be effective and efficient, it’s essential to have the right message for the right audience. You also need to be the right sender of the message. Role clarity plays a big part in this issue. Who is going to deliver what message?
There are challenges to solving this issue. One example is dealing with the different types of information being sent out:
  • Operational – deals with immediate issues
  • Performance – outlines current key performance issues and how they will be solved
  • Strategic – deals with enablement, strategic solutions, etc.

Business relationship managers should be strategic in their communications

Operational people often need to gain the skills to communicate clearly to the organization, which can create misunderstanding (the recipient doesn’t understand what the message means) or frustration (the recipient receives too many messages). Because of this, business relationship managers are frequently asked to get involved in all of the communication channels, but sharing operational and performance information is separate from their role as strategic partners.
For example, a business relationship manager is asked to send out a message about a new IT mandate and then gets bombarded with questions about how to solve technical issues. Being involved at tactical levels can create confusion around what a business relationship manager does and can eat into the time they need to spend working at the strategic level.

Develop your communication skills

A more effective approach places the business relationship manager in a coaching role, ensuring that the proper individuals can send clear, concise, and practical information. A coaching role allows the business relationship manager to oversee the effectiveness of the communications without becoming involved in sending them. There needs to be a careful balance in the execution. Sending the right message at the right time to the right person is essential to building solid partnerships, but to establish credibility, and ultimately create impact at a higher level, business relationship managers should avoid sending tactical messages and stick with strategic ones.


To lead and succeed, make sure you understand how to communicate and cultivate relationships. Learn more about our BRM Leadership Training Courses