The Virtuous Circle: Relationships at Work

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

Why good relationships at work create stronger, healthier, more successful organizations

Relationships are so important in the world of work right now. After so much change, complexity, and several years spent apart and disconnected from each other, many workplaces today are fraught and divided. Leaders have had to make lots of tough decisions, from laying off employees to accommodating people’s mental health issues to negotiating work arrangements. Both sides – leaders and their teams – need to feel heard to feel good about these changes.

And the only way people can come out feeling happier, more successful and with innovative solutions is if they have honest and difficult dialogue. Because with that dialogue comes deeper relationships. Which allows for better dialogue, more innovative solutions, and stronger relationships. It’s a “virtuous circle”.

In the past, workplace relationships were often top-down, centred around performance management and giving feedback. Organizations have since made huge strides in improving how we dialogue with our teams, but this focus on relationships goes a step further. And it impacts both parties – everyone has to take risks and be a leader.

Enhancing self-awareness is key

It requires us to change the way we think about work relationships. Rather than treat them as transactions, we need to first understand ourselves more and then use that insight to improve our relationships at work. With greater self-awareness, we can be clearer with ourselves and the people around us about what we want to achieve. We can be more open to discussions, less judgmental and dogmatic. And we can be more curious.

Because when we’re transparent about what’s important to us and interested in understanding what others on our team are going through, we can be authentic. We can see each other for who we truly are. We can have really good, meaningful, courageous conversations with each other. And we can build open, trusted relationships that will stand the test of time. Which helps build, stronger, healthier, and more successful organizations.

Give each other the benefit of the doubt

In many ways, building strong, successful work relationships is no different than creating strong, healthy personal relationships with our spouses, families or friends. The same rules apply. Be yourself. Realize that you’re not perfect. That you’re going to make mistakes. Apologize quickly and move on. And also realize that one mistake doesn’t define a person. That there’s often more going on than meets the eye. Understand that people are complex. That what’s true for you may not be true for them. And give each other the benefit of the doubt.

When you can be yourself, invest the time in building a work relationship with openness and curiosity, have honest, tough conversations, and the other person responds well, you can probably work through almost anything. You’ll have someone on your team you can work well with. Someone you can innovate and produce good outcomes with. And someone who’ll be there for you and the organization for the long term.

Impact can help

Find out how Impact can help your organization build better, healthier, more successful work relationships. Contact us.

Dive Deeper

How to Work With Almost Anyone, by Michael Bungay Stanier

Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values, by Fred Kofman

“How to Raise a Difficult Issue in a One-on-One with Your Boss”, by Steven G. Rogelberg and Jon Gray

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

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