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Making Positive Relationships a Priority in Organisations


    Making Positive Relationships a Priority in Organisations


    Have you ever worked in an environment that, can only be described as “toxic’?

    Have you been in a situation where you were afraid to ask questions, for fear of triggering the temper of your hyper-stressed boss?

    Do you struggle to turn your goals and objectives into reality?

    We, human beings are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. We all feel rejection as physical pain in the brain. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we're going to be.

    Good working relationships, creates an enjoyable environment to work in, allowing people to be more creative and innovative and, more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement.

    Fostering the formation of positive relationships in the workplace is an ongoing challenge in many organisations that invest in interpersonal skills training to get better at it.  When it is established, leads to increased growth revenue, increased efficiency, high profitability and increased return on sales.

    David McClelland and recent research has shown that organisations climate, which includes interpersonal relationships, accounts for a third of results, so it cannot be ignored or left to chance.

    As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a positive environment to enable your team have optimistic attitudes and cheerful outlooks as opposed to employees that are stressed, anxious and distrust each other.

    Positive relationships does not just mean people getting along with each other or simply avoiding toxic relationships, but, when established, it is a source of enrichment, and learning for both individuals and the organisation.

    Impact On Well-Being

    Establishing positive relationships promotes positive outcomes physiologically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically in individuals, which leads to a flourishing organisation. Science research has shown that positive interpersonal relations have beneficial effects on human behaviour and health, such as longevity and quick recovery from illness.

    Heaphy and Dutton (2008) reported that positive social relationships affect the hormonal, cardiovascular, and immune systems of the body, thereby emphasising it’s impact on health and well-being.

    When people experience positive relationships with others, oxytocin is released which leads to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, an increased ability to handle stress calmly, greater resistance to infections and a calming effect on the mind.

    Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina reported that people who flourish in life, i.e – who have enriched relationships, rewarding work, who feel that their life is meaningful – have at least three positive emotional events for every negative one. This means that they focus on managing and regulating their emotions, mainly by developing self-awareness and being solution focused.

    Managing Relationships

    Reports have shown that top-performing organisations, tend to have about ten times more fully engaged workers than disengaged, while in average-performing organisations, there are on average, just two engaged employees for every disengaged one.

    Emotions are contagious and many studies now show, that, for example, if the leader of a team is in a positive mood, it spreads an upbeat mood to the others and that collective positivity enhances the group’s performance. If the leader projects a negative mood, that spreads in the same way, and the group’s performance suffers. This has been found to have an effect on decision making, creativity and effective problem solving.

    Here are some key skills that help to improve interpersonal connection:

    • The first is listening and paying full attention. You need to tune in fully to the other person, putting aside distractions.
    • Being in the present both mentally and emotionally: This can be seen when  you observe two people that are connecting well, and see the interaction between them as their moves are almost choreographed, like a dance. Such synchrony is orchestrated by a set of neurones, called oscillators, which regulate how our body moves in relationship to another body. See blog on empathy.
    • Emotional Intelligence -  spend time developing your emotional intelligence  (EQ) by learning to recognise your own emotions, and clearly understand what they're telling you. High EQ will also help you to understand the emotions and needs of others.
    • Appreciate Others: Show your appreciation whenever someone does something worthy. Everyone wants to feel that their work and effort is appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well. This will open the door to great work relationships and more committed employees.
    • Setting up coaching or mentoring programs also helps to increase and promote these positive relationships among teams.


    Inspirational Leader

    • Leaders who inspire give people a sense of common purpose beyond the day-to-day tasks, by creating an exciting work climate.
    • They are also influential, with the skill to build buy-in from key people and support for an initiative. Such leaders are persuasive and engaging when they address their team or a group.
    • Another key characteristic of an inspirational leader is their ability to show a genuine interest in those they are leading by taking time to understand their goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Get feedback from colleagues daily and keep building positive relationships and show your interest in others. Such leaders are genuinely good at giving timely and constructive feedback and are natural mentors or coaches.
    • Inspirational leaders are skilful in driving change by recognising the need for the change, able to challenge the status quo, and champion the new strategy. They can be strong advocates for the change even in the face of strong opposition, by finding practical ways to overcome barriers, acknowledging the concerns of individuals and taking the team along.
    • Conflict management - they are able to manage conflicts by listening and understanding the different perspectives, and then find common ground that everyone can buy-in to. The skill is to acknowledge the feelings and views of all sides, and then redirect the focus and energy towards a shared goal and objective.
    • Teamwork: Leaders who are good team players foster an environment of friendly collaboration, where people feel free to step out of their comfort zone and they are themselves models of respect, helpfulness, and compassion. They draw others into active, enthusiastic, commitment to the collective effort, and build spirit, mutual respect and identity. They spend time forging and harnessing close relationships beyond mere work obligations and receive total loyalty and commitment from their team.



    Life is all about the choices we make as we interact with each other.

    Team members have to learn to respect and appreciate each other’s differences and be willing to work towards the common goal and benefit of the organisation rather than individual agendas. When relationships are positive and communications are running smoothly, it creates an environment of trust, mutual respect and high team unity. Conflict is managed effectively and team members are free to identify and use their individual strengths.

    To be a high performing leader, you need to value both results and relationships for long-term survival. Traditionally, leaders find themselves choosing between these two, but both are critical for sustained high success and profitability. The fact is that if you, as a leader don’t have loyal followers, it will be difficult to get high performing results that are sustainable.

    Once you take care of your customers and create a motivating environment for your people, profits and financial strengths follow suit. Success is both results and relationships.

    “Leadership is not about love - it is love. It is loving your mission, it’s loving your customers, it’s loving your people, and it’s loving yourself enough to get out of the way so that other people can be magnificent.” - Margie Blanchard



    Relationships are central to organisational life and individual's workplace experiences. Developing meaningful connections among people at work enables people to build relationships that meet expressive, cognitive, identity, growth, and relatedness needs. Positive relationships brings a sense of psychological connections at work that are meaningful to individuals and are not only sources of attachment, but also allow them to bring their true authentic selves to the workplace. This insight offers exciting possibilities for leaders to engage with individuals and teams and create a climate of organisational attachment for others to enable them express their authentic selves in the workplace.

    Stronger collaboration is formed when people trust one another and more information is shared amongst them, which leads to increased efficiency, results and outcomes.

    To learn more about becoming a high performing emotionally intelligent leader, book a free 20min call with me to discuss further:

    or send me an email: [email protected]



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    Maureen Chiana Neuro-Leadership and Resilience Expert. NeuroSuccess Speaker, Consultant & Trainer - Brain-based Coach & Mentor.