Healthy Relationships in the Workplace. Why should you care?

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By: Jodi DeRoo, Director of Learning

We hear a lot about the importance of building healthy relationships in our workplaces. It seems simple – but is it really? Does it just take practice and learning new techniques, or is it something deeper? Is it about the personalities we are trying to lead, or is it more about our own personality? And – does fostering healthy relationships do more for others, or does it also develop our own leadership capacity?

 As a leader, you know the more you build healthy relationships with those you lead - the more productive, the more creative and the more collaborative your team will be. But, have you considered that building healthy relationships will allow you to become a better, more strategic version of yourself, too?  You see, we all have a social component of our brain that craves a safe, non-threatening environment.  When we create environments that nurture this, everyone benefits – even you.

 So how do you do that? Here are 3 steps you should start practicing immediately:

Weekly - Find a new connection with those you lead

There is always a common thread between you and someone you meet – sometimes it just takes a bit longer to discover it.  Start your week with the decision that you are going to try and find something new you have in common with one of your team members.  Once you find it, log it – and refer to your findings often.  The common connection is there – you just need to uncover it – and once you do, you will begin to build connected relationships.

Daily - List 5 things you are grateful for

Find a place in your planner or electronic device to keep a running record.  Do this every day without repeating a previous entry.  At first it will probably be fairly surface level thoughts, but as you get in the habit, you will need to start digging deeper.  Be sure to include both home and work.  Every time you exercise the art of gratefulness, you are creating a release of dopamine in your brain.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows you to think clearer and more efficiently.  Your brain is more productive, and you will put life into perspective.  It’s a win-win.

Constantly – Stop the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

Dr. Daniel Amen, founder of Amen Clinics, uses the acronym ANTs when it comes to identifying behaviors that are damaging to your brain.  We all do it – jump to conclusions, think the worse in a situation or just feel overwhelmed.  And the problem is, the human brain is designed to look for evidence to verify your thoughts – whether they are true or not.  So, we start to believe what we perceive as the truth.  Watch for this and try to re-evaluate the situation when you notice this thinking pattern. What else could be happening or what other outcomes are possible?  ANTs aren’t healthy for your brain, or for building relationships.  Stay curious.

Is it simple?

Sometimes! Other times, not so much. It takes you investing time and energy in changing your past behaviors in hopes of creating new ones. Avoid being overwhelmed and quitting by taking these three steps today, and see big results tomorrow.