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Creating and Building the ‘Right’ Relationships at Work

11th December 2018

Right relationship at work


The world of work today is more complex than ever. More tasks and processes are outsourced, digitalised, interconnected and often in another part of the world.

As a leader there are many challenges to managing these situations and it’s easy to loose sight of the relationships required to ensure things run smoothly. In my experience more emphasise is put on the task rather than having the right relationships to complete the task, and this goes way beyond the immediate team.

What do I mean by right relationships?

We are social creatures. We are wired to belong and be in connection with others. if we don’t get what we need it can impact us psychologically and physically.

As an individual you have the capacity to impact everyone you meet either positively or negatively and as a leader this is magnified.

Right relationship for me means having a positive impact even when delivering bad news. It’s about being authentic and accepting the other person as a whole individual. You can have honest conversations without them becoming toxic.

There are 3 key elements to be able to be in right relationship with anyone:

  • Self-awareness
  • Listening
  • Collaborating


One of my founding principles is that you cannot lead and develop others until you first learn to lead and develop yourself.

How well do you know yourself?

Are you aware of your beliefs and values?

Do you know how they impact your behaviour?

Are you able to control your behaviour even in stressful situations?

Reflect on how you show up – constantly!  Set aside some time in the week to reflect on how you have shown up as a leader. Where were you brilliant in relationship? Where could you have done things differently? What will you do to continue to build your reputation, presence and relationships?

You are on show all of the time and people are watching you all of the time. Be consistent in everything you do and role model what you expect. You set the standards for what is acceptable and what isn’t in your environment.


Truly listening is an art. There are many things we can pay attention to in both your audience and you.

You are the only person you are in control of. Pay attention to what is happening to you as well as your audience, tuning into the following areas:

Words – Listen to the words, tone, timbre and pitch

Emotion – What do you see and hear that gives some indication of the mood or emotion that is present?

Physiology – What do you notice about the way the person you are listening to is sitting, standing, moving, and breathing?

Energy – What are you picking up energetically?

As you are doing this be curious, ask questions and suspend your own judgement. Solicit input and check your understanding by summarising what you are hearing.

I know all of this sounds simple, however there are real subtleties to observe which you will pick up as long as you practice.

Promote collaboration

Most initiatives require the cooperation and combined effort of teams across the organisation. Stand out from the crowd and promote collaboration across the organisation and find ways to unblock the blockages to getting things done. This may mean dealing with conflict.

Most of us shy away from conflict and back off or avoid the situation if it feels like it might be confrontational. Yet, conflict is inevitable in organisations.  Think of conflict as differing points of view which, when discussed without blame or defensiveness, can be the starting point of creating a better solution, better product or better way of working.

Act to preserve relationships, even under difficult or heated circumstances.

Relationships are fluid. They are changing all of the time and they will not always be consistently good. They grow, end and go through rocky patches at times. I always advise my clients to at least maintain the relationship at its current level. Ideally you want to be building relationships so when there is a heated exchange make sure you circle back and affirm the importance of the relationship and, if necessary, apologise!

“”Love” is the radical respect of the other as a legitimate other.”

Humberto Maturana



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