Relationships affect our entire lives as human beings and hence there are so many ways to improve relationships in and out of work. In humanising work we need to recognise that it is not only those relationships at work that affect how we are as leaders, how we perform and our overall wellbeing. It is all our relationships that contribute to how we show up including those outside of work.
For example if you have had a disagreement with family member that has made you question yourself your confidence may be lower going into your first meeting of the day for work than if you had a positive conversation. Our emotions are highly influenced by the quality of all of the relationships around us and our emotions affect how well we can perform as a leader. So we need to take all our relationships into consideration when we map out our network of connections. There are those closest to us, there may be people we care about at work but only see in work hours, there may be lifelong school friends or thousands of connections on social media platforms that we only know snippets about.
Recognising our entire relationship network we can then reflect on the quality of those connections and how well we nurture those relationships for them to stay healthy and supportive over time. Relationships can easily wither and wilt like a plant if not tended to appropriately which in many cases takes proactive attention. We are lucky if we build such a deep connection with someone that can withstand long periods of time between contact, but often this is unrealistic, particularly as people experience life stages that can fundamentally change them.
Knowing our entire relationship map and the need to nurture relationships over time, we then need to find the meaningful human connection which has become ever more important in our increasingly virtual conversations. Noticing the uniqueness of how someone connects with us and reflecting this back positively to someone, listening to the subtle “subtext” and finding compassionate ways to raise this to the surface if you are sensing there is a need are the ways leaders can make those powerful connection points, moments that matter.
We can all do this in our own unique way, but often the busyness of work takes over and we forget. By simply setting ourselves the goal to make a meaningful connection each day of the week brings it to the forefront of our attention and makes it more likely we will emphasise this at work with strong impact.