This was an interesting week.  For whatever reason, the theme of “Relationships” emerged from a number of conversations had with friends, former colleagues and two people I met for the first time.  Hence, my reading was somewhat driven.

For our purposes, Miriam Webster identifies “Relationship” as, “The way in which two or more people or organizations read and behave toward each other.”  LOL, if only it was that simple.  As we all know, there are so many factors that influence these relationships, many of which we cannot control. But it is those factors that we do control which need to be considered.  Let me give you an example!

I always referred to my relationship with colleagues at the office as my “work family”.  We spent much of each day  working collaboratively on a variety of projects. We also celebrated birthdays, the birth of a child, or a marriage.  Likewise, we looked out for those who were sick and shared in the grief when someone lost a loved one. I tried to greet each person every day and likewise say goodbye at day’s end. I even lit the grill and made lunch on a number of occasions.  Was it harmony everyday?  No!  Like any family we had our ups and downs, but when things got tough, or there was a personal crisis, I knew they were there for me and I was there for them!. Ultimately, the development, quality, and continuation of any relationships rests with each of us!

One of my favorite writers, Tanveer Naseer, examines the leader’s role in building relationships in his post, “3 Keys for Building Relationships with Those You Lead.  Within the post he cites Harvard research that found, “When leaders focus on building relationships with their employees, they create conditions that lead to higher levels of organizational commitment.” Naseer then develops three key ideas for leaders to consider when building relationships:

  1. Step back and consider the realities and challenges being faced by those whom we are leading.
  2. See the person, not their title or role.
  3. Seek to discover and understand the true strengths of your team.

A similar post begins with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, considered to be one of our toughest, no nonsense Presidents, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!”  Author, Derek Carpenter outlines 7 Strategies for Creating a Culture of Caring at Your Business.  He suggests that establishing a caring environment creates conditions for happier employees, enhanced engagement, greater employee retention and an improved bottom line. You can’t argue with those outcomes!

Lastly, some concluding thoughts generated by a friend’s post on FB this morning.  A Danish video entitled, “What Happens When We UnBox Each Other”, challenges us to look at our relationships from a new perspective.  If you think about it, many of our relationships at work and in many cases outside of work are initially established through a sense of familiarity.  We feel comfortable with those we perceive to be “like us”.  It may come from sharing a hobby, having a common interest, or simply living in the same neighborhood. The video challenges us to look beyond our perceptions!  “Maybe there is more that brings us together than we think!”    Embrace the Challenge.