Contrary to the “Don’t get personal at work” philosophy there is growing evidence that strong relationships at work are a key ingredient to high performance. In Why Relationships at Work Are So Important, best-selling author Susan Fowler, a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies explains that “relatedness”—a feeling of connectedness and belonging—is one of the primary nutrients necessary for individuals to thrive in the workplace.
For individuals looking to improve their ability to work successfully with others, Fowler recommends a 3-step process.
- Identify the relationships you are currently involved in at work. Are the people in your immediate circle of influence helping you achieve your goals at work? What is the nature of your relationships? If those relationships are superficial, negative, or nonexistent, then there is a very real chance that you are not going to achieve your goals—at least not in a way that is going to leave you with a sense of vitality, or joy in your accomplishment.
- Determine if the conflict issues in your relationships are caused by a values conflict—where you see things differently, or a dispositional conflict—where your preferred style of responding is different.
- Take action. If you are experiencing a values difference with another person, look for areas where you have values in common. Some common examples are a dedication to helping customers, or a common commitment to high quality work. If the strained relationship is being caused by differences in disposition, take a minute to explore and understand the different ways people respond to work situations. Fowler prefers a behavioral model, such as DISC, as a way to understand dispositional differences including whether a person is more introverted or extraverted, or more controlling or accepting in typical situations.
The basic human need for relatedness or meaningful relationships at work tends to get diminished in many organizations according to Fowler. Don’t let that happen in your organization.
“Managers are often taught that it is not inside the scope of a manager’s role or appropriate to deal with personal issues. But the research is clear that to ignore a person’s need for meaningful relationships in the workplace is to ignore an essential ingredient for basic motivation, vitality, and the sense of well-being that results in a person’s good intentions at work.
Check out the full text of Why Relationships at Work Are So Important here. Also, don’t miss Fowler’s October 20 complimentary webinar on Creating Effective Work Relationships.