It’s All About Relationships
What’s your best relationship? What makes it the best? You probably thought of some common ground or common set of values, or the way you communicate with the other person. Perhaps the connection you have inspires you to share openly with each other, indicating a high level of trust. Trust is fundamental for a strong and lasting relationship.
We don’t get very far in life without positive relationships. Organizational or business relationships are based on the same characteristics and values as our personal relationships. The relationships those in our organization are able to build and foster reflect the health of our organizational culture as well as the bottom line. When team members connect with each other and stakeholders/clients to transparently communicate in a way that follows and supports the vision, mission, and priorities of their organization, they stand a far greater chance of achieving stated priorities and goals.
NATURE, NURTURE, & JAZZ
Being in relationships with other humans has allowed us to survive and thrive as a species. While our environments are in many ways less threatening than in centuries past, our need to connect and build trusting bonds has persisted. Participation in social interaction breeds empathy and cooperation, which are both critical to team success (Hari, Henriksson, Malinen, Parkkonen, 2015).
Have you ever lost a relationship over time? Most of us can identify one or more relationships that just fizzled out or became less prominent in our lives. Relationships require time and must be nurtured. Consider what you identified as your best relationship. It probably wouldn’t be the best if you pulled back on your communication and opportunities to connect. Relationships require effort to remain healthy and strong.
Relationship Lessons from Jazz
In this interview with Jazz musician Delfeayo Marsalis, he describes empathetic listening as a critical form of communication for a team of jazz musicians. The team’s common goal is to produce supreme music. This is accomplished through frequent connection, in the form of practice and performance. With each connection, the team becomes more experienced in taking cues from each other and negotiating to stay aligned and make progress. Marsalis also explains individual members are not “in control,” nor is the show about them. A successful jazz band relationship requires clear and constant communication and connection.
2 WAYS TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Most of us can rattle off communication skills: listening, clear speech, empathy, and body language are a few. Relationships are created and nurtured by regularly exercising these skills with others. The way and frequency with which we communicate tells others they are valued. Taking time to either share information or listen is not lost on most people. It is recognized as an intentional effort. The effort is usually returned, making the relationship stronger. Consider the jazz band. The constant two-way communication, though non-verbal, established momentum. It also kept the relationship focused. How well do you communicate with your team members? Remember this means listening, talking, writing, and taking action. How well do you communicate with external stakeholders? Do you share and listen?
Communication and connection go hand in hand. When we communicate, we create a connection. For this connection to be lasting, we must do it often and consistently. The individuals we tend to will be the relationships we strengthen. Think about the bonds you need and want to nurture. Do you have systems in place to allow you to connect? How much space do you create for connecting? Which internal or external relationships are in jeopardy because you lack connection? How might you use your calendar to build in time to connect? What opportunities to connect would allow you to share and listen?