Key Point: The ability to develop and sustain great relationships is a key and expected outcome from leaders. Why do some leaders really connect while others struggle to? One reason is that effective leaders have the ability to deftly apply the “different strokes for different folks” philosophy. These leaders really care for and know the people on their teams. (Of course, they apply this approach in their personal relationships too). And the people on their teams genuinely see themselves as much more than a means to an end. An excellent article in Forbes notes the following: “What derails relationships is making them entirely instrumental: Means to ends. That is why employees feel a lack of engagement in workplaces; it’s also what unhinges many marriages. We look to others to satisfy our needs and systematically ignore what makes them purr.” (For feline lovers the article uses a story about cats to reinforce the principle).
What these effective leaders may or may not be conscious of is their application of solution-focused approach to psychology. As the Forbes article goes on to state: When applying a “solution-focused perspective, we learn about successful relationships by reverse-engineering our most successful moments of relating… We can make surprisingly rapid and meaningful changes simply by doing more of what is already working in our lives… Strong, resilient relationships are not merely ones that avoid petty arguments and poor communication. It’s the presence of positive elements, not merely the absence of negative ones that defines a great business or life partnership.” This may sound like semantic wordplay and psychobabble, however the mindset and approach to a relationship by being solution focused requires a substantially different mindset and approach.
- It’s not just about you! A great relationship, including between a team member and his or her boss, is about mutually finding ways to make other people’s happiness and satisfaction our priority. If we only are in the relationship to get what we want, it is much more likely to not be sustainable.
- Think about relationships you’d like to improve upon and focus on replicating more positive elements versus spending most of your angst on elimination of negative ones. Identify when the relationship is humming and reverse-engineer the behaviors that contributed.
- Be a giver! Do not worry about whether the other matches your commitment to making the relationship work. When others better understand and trust that you’re more about making positive things expand versus primarily trying to eliminate what doesn’t work, relationship resilience usually prevails.
Relationship Resilience in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: A few years ago I was about to embark on a night out with some college friends, when one of my buddies in sales goes “we’ll leave when my boss gets here.” Immediately, I initially think, “what? You invited your boss?!? Who would invite their boss to a social evening out?” Well, my friend did, and it was a smart move. They’re able to compartmentalize their office life and social life, which in turn strengthens their relationship and team skills. (Doesn’t hurt that the boss knew his way around town, too). The happiest peers I know have outside of work relationships with their co-workers. Happy hours, barbecues, and birthday parties can have guest spots for your colleagues too. Who doesn’t like a good story on Monday?
– Garrett Rubis
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis