Have you ever worked with an organization where there was no love lost between management and employees?
I have! Dealing with organizations where turnover was off the charts, passive-aggressive was the primary language, and communication was little more than a transfer of data.
If you can relate, you know that at the core of all this negativity is how people treat each other. When there are poor relationships in the workplace it is a huge energy drain that leads to low morale and productivity.
That’s why in today’s post, we’re going to explore:
- Why cultivating positive relationships is a crucial pillar in building a high-performing organization.
- Exactly how you can develop positive relationships and more effective communication in your organization.
- How leveraging this powerful resource increases employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction and relationships.
The key to all of this is recognizing that relationships and communication are the bedrock of a positive organization.
Organizations don’t run on products and services alone. People are the heart and soul of organizations, and that means relationships and communication are crucial. These are not “soft skills” people, they are foundational skills!
WHY Positive Relationships are Important
There is so much research on this that it would be almost impossible to list it all here, so here’s the nutshell that you need to know.
– Positive Relationships create better physical, emotional and mental health, and superior cognitive functioning
– Positive relationships result in people who are more resilient, more committed to the organization, go above and beyond to help others, and are more creative and engaged.
The bottom line is that positive relationships result in organizations that operate more efficiently, effectively, and perform at higher levels.
HOW to Foster Positive Relationships
The good news is that this does not require much time…it just requires some mindfulness. Dr. Jane Dutton, an esteemed organizational researcher, has some tried and tested methods for how you can start to cultivate positive relationships in your organization. If you want to read more on this, check out her book, How to Be a Positive Leader: Insights from Leading Thinkers on Positive Organizations.
1. Respectfully Engage with People.
Be fully present, truly listen (yes, turn off your mobile device). Communicate by requesting rather than demanding and demonstrate you care about the messenger and their message.
Help others succeed in their work through mentoring, coaching, and encouragement.
3. Develop Trust.
Trust is earned and can be built through assigning projects, sharing access to information, and allowing employees to complete work without micromanaging.
Team-building activities or informal social gatherings increase creativity, innovation, and build happiness that opens doors to new relationships and interactions.
At this point you’re probably thinking this all sounds well and good but how do I get my organization to prioritize relationships? I got you! Once again, Dutton provides solutions I have personally tried and tested with success.
- Institutionalize positive relationships by building reward structures that reinforce desired behavior.
- Assign a mentor or onboarding buddy to help new hires learn the ropes.
- Leaders serve as role models for respectfully engaging people, demonstrating trust, setting people up for success, and being there in times of crisis.
Leveraging Positive Relationships
Don’t just play in your own back yard. The way you develop positive relationships in your own organization can also be applied to your relationships with clients. Organizations that have followed the steps shared in this post report benefiting from increased customer satisfaction, referrals, loyalty, and repeat business. In turn, employees benefit from work that is more enjoyable and engaging. If that’s not a positive win-win, I don’t know what is!
I hope you’ll use some of these techniques to start cultivating more positive relationships at work. If you want a deeper discussion on this topic, check out my podcast episode, The Power of Positive Relationships in Organizations. Got questions you want answers to about this or any other positive leadership topic? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer them in a future post!