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Jeff Brodsky on Building Relationships (Part 1)

Jeff Brodsky on Building Relationships (Part 1)
Influence comes over time, right? So it’s always interesting to me today, that today’s generations of students wanna change jobs frequently, cuz I’ve been at Morgan Stanley for over 28 years. And so, you build this incredible network of colleagues. And so foundationally, I think you build relationships. Secondly, there are people and I run HR, so surprisingly for me to say, but people say, keep the personal out of the workplace. And I actually think that’s wrong, you can’t work in a type A environment and spend 10, 12, 14 hours a day with people and not get to know them. Then not get to know what’s going on in their lives, not showing you care about them.
And so connecting to people on a personal and emotional level doesn’t necessarily build trust but it builds a connection. Secondly, having a way to connect with people. So sports is the easiest thing, if people are interested in sports. But recognizing, I would say to people, I don’t care what your interest is. Whether it’s reality TV, or it’s sports, or it’s politics, although probably sure I’d try to stay away from politics, especially this election. But, find something to connect, in your office, have things that reflect who you are as an individual. So that when people walk in, or when you walk in to someone elses office, you can immediately talk to them. It doesn’t have to be about their kids.
It’s, we had a situation where we sent a senior guy out to Hong Kong to run a business for us. And I walked in his office and the boxes were packed and he’d been there three months and there were no pictures on the wall. I said to him, you’re telegraphing to people that you have no commitment to this job or this location. You know, get your boxes unpacked and get some pictures of your kids up. So I think you can build relationships, you can build trust. You can also kind of just put your head down and do work, and show people what your value set is, what you’re capable of, what your judgement is.
In the particular case I spoke about earlier, it was my instinct. You do a job for long enough, and you are around a situation long enough, you begin to trust your own instincts. People want to follow them because, they know when they’ve been burnt when they don’t. So I think it’s really a collection of things that you build upon to get people to want to follow or to really want to step in the sandbox with you and create. I don’t like to think of it necessarily as followership, but as teamwork. And, like anything, the team dynamic is really, really important. So it’s showing respect for others. It’s making sure, as a leader of the team, everybody’s got a voice.
And we recently went through a process where we promoted five people to our leadership team. And others were like, how did that happen and to me, it was really easy. It was they needed to have a platform, and they needed to have a voice. And so I think really being present and having a voice can make a difference.
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