The power of listening in building trusting treasury relationships
May 12, 2021
As treasury leaders, when interacting with our teams and in my case my clients, can we truly say we are actively listening and understanding the exact meaning of what they are saying? I believe active listening will likely give us a clearer understanding of the true feelings and motivations to better enable us to build really trusting relationships.
These are a key component if we are to create an environment to optimise team performance, work effectively with our clients or stakeholders within our organisations and perhaps even more important, retain key talent in treasury.
Building trusting relationships
We recently held a second virtual networking event for senior women in treasury. Following on from the success of our session last year we built upon previous learnings around resilience to explore how best to build such trusting relationships.
As before, the discussions were led by former Olympic rower Rachel Woolf who challenged us to consider how we move our team relationships beyond those of transactional treasury co-workers and how the ongoing pandemic has affected our ability to do that. The natural reaction in the room was to say that virtual working had made this more difficult, but on reflection, I believe that having a common pandemic experience to share has led to a breaking down of barriers for many. The session then explored other key ingredients for building trusting relationships, including treasury leaders demonstrating qualities such as being non-judgemental, open and reliable.
However, for me, the essential building block for building better trusting relationships with my treasury peers, team members and clients, is active listening. Getting a true understanding of what is driving the actions of someone with whom I am speaking is never easy, but the following key actions will help me achieve success:
Avoid any distractions - this is particularly pertinent in a virtual environment where it is easy to check my emails or instant messenger mid conversation;
- Go into a conversation judgement free, removing any biases and thoughts about what I expect the person to be thinking;
- Look out for any emotive words which may help identify any root cause issues,
- Look beyond the words to the body language to better understand how someone else is feeling;
- Listen until they have fully explained their situation and do not place any focus on how I can best respond to them during that time; and
- Don’t be afraid to play back the discussion to confirm I have understood them correctly.
I feel confident these simple rules will lead me to more active listening, enabling me to deepen my relationships with peers, an essential skill for not only myself as a treasury advisor but for everyone in the treasury community.