“Based on interviews and surveys from 1987 to 1998, Useem and Harder in a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review found that successful outsourcing relationship management requires a blend of leadership skills different from the traditional. They identify four leadership qualities necessaries for lateral leadership-strategic thinking, deal making, partnership governing, and managing change. Relationship management requires managers who can negotiate outward across organizational boundaries both within the customer company and across to the provider company, rather than issue orders downward or across.
A recent study by the Outsourcing Research Council also found that leadership qualities are one of three important pillars for successful relationship management. The first is the relationship foundation, the ways that both the customer and provider managers go about defining, crafting, managing, and enhancing the relationship. The most successful relationships get off to a good start by creating a basis for long term improvement of the relationship, capturing intentions as well as terms, managing carefully the expectations of all parties including business unit managers, and defining at the outset the metrics, scorecard and the evaluation process for continuous improvement of the relationship.