We’ve recently been watching the latest docu-series of Couples Therapy, which follows four couples over six months of weekly treatment. It’s addictive and the fascinating fly on the wall nature gives an insight that we rarely see as the viewer follows couples visiting a New York psychologist and psychoanalyst, Dr Orna Guralnik.
What’s critical that comes across in all the couples is communication. All relationships need nurturing with open communication, honesty and a safe space to talk through differences. Repeatedly, we see couples unable to deeply listen to each other. But, while the series focuses on life partners, it’s equally as relevant in our workplace relationships. Once we understand this and create a culture that encourages open communications, the benefits to our relationships at work can be enormous.
Are you seeing symptoms of your teams not working well together? Are relationships suffering? Are you really listening?
Here are three things you can do right now to improve workplace relationships:
- Check your interpretation: how are you interpreting digital communication? Are you starting to read into things, make things negative or feel like things are happening without you being involved? Are you aware of your digital body language and how it is interpreted by others? Where possible, you need to make the time to see people face-to-face. This is part of the symptoms of the disconnection that has happened between us since the pandemic started.
- Seek out communication experts: if there are changes in your organisation and you’re altering processes, make sure you have someone with communication experience and expertise to help. Some change consultants are more focused on the business and the financial modelling than they are on people; it’s important to make sure you have both regardless of other people’s advice that might say you don’t need it.
- Keep an open dialogue: tell someone if you’re interpreting their messages in a certain way and it’s bothering you. They can’t change or fix something if they don’t know it’s broken, so find the right way to ask them if this was their intention. It’s important to remember that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their behaviour.
If you’d like to read more on this topic, it’s covered in more detail in this article Have we forgotten how to be in work relationships? for Forbes Business Council. We also talk about this topic in our monthly LinkedIn newsletter, The Leadership Fix – Why empathy isn’t a leadership superpower. If you’d like to talk more about how you can improve relationships in your team, please get in touch.