The reality is most people will at some time or another find themselves working with people they find difficult. Reflect on when you’ve worked with people who drained your energy and undermined your ability to thrive at work. Many leaders have experienced the consequences of tolerating these people and failing to face up to reality of their detrimental impact on the rest of their team. While there’s no point pretending someone can learn to be an effective member of your team if they can’t, just as important is recognising when people are worth investing in.
While your role in enabling strong relationships across your team is important, so too is each individual’s willingness to work in a spirit of cooperation to build healthy relationships. As the age old saying goes ‘it takes 2 to tango’.
Expect every member of your team to take personal ownership of the impact they have on others and the strength of their relationships with them. Choose to invest in people you believe want to be a positive contributor and are willing to do their part.
7 signs of healthy relationships
Great relationships are built on trust. Reflect for a moment on strained relationships you have experienced or observed. It’s likely that for one party or the other, trust was lacking. Trust typically takes time to build and when lost, is extremely difficult to regain. People trust each other when they feel safe, comfortable and open to explore issues and challenge one another. Trust is also reflected in a willingness to listen and learn from the insights other people offer.
People who trust one another are more likely to express themselves openly and honestly. No topic is off-limits, and both parties typically feel heard. When people engage in honest and respectful conversations that allow them to understand one another it’s a strong sign their relationship is healthy. Their tendency to discuss issues and concerns, directly and not with other people, is a key indicator of their ability to succeed together.
Respect and acceptance
Look for signs that both parties recognise neither one is perfect and therefore always right. Expect people to accept each other the way they are and value the person each is. Too often people focus on what they expect or hope people will be. While of course it’s important they challenge unacceptable conduct, holding onto who they expect someone to become will inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration.
True collaboration is reflected in the ability to work together to understand what needs to happen and how best to go it. Successful teams focus on shared objectives and make decisions together by listening to each other’s concerns and preferences. Collaborative people bring their ideas and opinions together and remain open minded to one another’s point of view. They work with mutual trust and respect to achieve what each person and the team needs to.
Healthy relationships are energised by fun and laughter. While of course you cant expect people to get along every moment of every day, look for signs that they uplift one another’s spirits Accept that most people will experience frustration or annoyance at times, but expect that they are able to enjoy one another’s company. Observe people’s ability to move past petty disagreements and focus on reasons to enjoy the time they spend with their colleagues.
Kindness and compassion
Mean-spirited people drain your team of energy and undermine their ability to succeed. Nothing is more important to the trust people feel than being treated with care and compassion. Most people expect their colleagues to be friendly and speak with consideration. Generosity is another important measure of kindness people typically place weight on. You know people have strong relationships when they choose to invest in the needs of others and in turn are treated with appreciation and regard .
Holding on to baggage weighs heavily on any relationship. Resentment, disappointment and frustration when left unresolved but held on to, erode trust and drain your team’s spirit. You know people have a great relationship when they are able to express how they feel and then let their concerns go. When people are willing to leave things in past, forgive one another’s shortcomings and mistakes, they are entirely more likely to succeed together.