The study makes three major points:
- Social connections are really good for our health and well-being.
- It’s the quality not quantity of our close relationships that matters most.
- Good relationships protect both our bodies and brains.
Perhaps that’s why:
- Gallup has asked the question, “I have a best friend at work” in its’ Q12 Employee Survey to millions of employees.
- A ten year research study showed “as much as 35% of the variability in discretionary performance of employees is a result of their manager’s style and behavior.”
- A Fortune 100 company found that employees who felt their boss showed “genuine interest and concern for their well-being” had engagement levels 30+ percentage points higher than their counterparts.
- Research has also found that our brains work better when we feel positive. So, important things in business such as creativity, decision-making abilities, and fewer errors (by staying more focused) are impacted.
- People stay where they are happy and also have higher levels of attendance.
Which leads me to a practical question – what can businesses pro-actively do to assist professional, quality relations in the workplace? I’m suggesting things well beyond the traditional boilerplate statements many organizations make about harassment, diversity, and inclusion.
Below is a quick Internal Quality Relations (IQR) Assessment I use with clients. Please score each question either 3 = very consistent; 2 = inconsistent; or 1 = very inconsistent.
In our organization, internal quality relations (IQRs) are critical to our success so we:
- Highlight these desired behaviors in living our values?
- Review our spans of control (supervisor to employee ratios) to allow time to build quality relations?
- Clarify specific expectations for both leaders and employees?
- Hold everyone accountable for building and maintaining internal quality relations?
- Pro-actively address ‘destructive’ relations in the workplace?
- Monitor key internal relations using different assessment tools?
- Include their importance in our orientation and onboarding?
- Teach everyone effective ways to handle differences of opinion and resolve disagreements?
- Conduct ongoing cross-functional teams to minimize ‘silo thinking and limited relations’?
- Hold networking activities so employees can easily ‘connect’ with others outside their workgroup?
- Select people (new hires and internal promotions) who exhibit strong relationship building skills and get results?
- Factor relationship building behaviors in both recognition and reward activities?
Next Steps. Items rated a “‘3” above - how do you leverage these behaviors? Items rated “2” or “1”- start by picking one item to proactively start addressing, over the next 30 days, which would significantly impact relationships in your workplace.
When relationships are non-existent, unsure, tense, or broken then many employees will react with unproductive behaviors including:
- Closing off real dialog
- Overreacting to feedback
- Second-guessing decisions
- Resisting change
- Overstepping boundaries
- Manipulating information and situations
- Blaming others
It’s impossible to keep 100% of employees happy all the time, but enabling sincere, honest, trusting relationships can make a huge competitive difference. Let’s remember that the opposite of relationship includes: division, dispute, dissension, disengagement, and even divorce (leaving). And, in life and work – rules without relationships equals resistance. Can your organization afford the waste of time, money, and human capability created by poor internal relations? Good relationships just don’t happen. Is it time to be proactive and address?