What happens in a workplace with healthy relationships?


“Relationship” is a word that we don’t use much in the workplace to designate personal connections with our colleagues. I rather suspect the reason we don’t is because it implies expression of emotions (fondness, love, compassion , etc.). How sad that the good feelings that we experience when we are connected and a part of the lives of those around us at work can’t be acknowledged.

Mutual connection is essential to our work and our organizations; it enhances our lives and contributes to meeting goals. We swim in emotions and relationships daily without considering how important they are to our ability to lead – and more importantly, to the bottom line.

You have the responsibility to model wholesome connections. How would you know if you your workplace has healthy relationships? Some thoughts:

Followers are willing: Whining and complaining about the work don’t exist. The people you lead follow willingly and joyfully.

Positive attitudes: Positivity prevails. There is a “can do” attitude. The workplace is alive with people who see possibility and enthusiastically work toward organizational goals.

You’ll hear good news and bad news: People are willing to come forward with any news, even if it isn’t positive. They know that it is important to let you know exactly what you need to hear to lead well.

Climbing back up on the horse: Failure happens. Your employees are willing to accept their role in it without blaming others. Then they get back up to try again.

Focus on the right things: People around you aren’t heading in the wrong direction. They know the outcomes expected, and are focused on them.

Give and take without expecting something in return: Employees share their knowledge and skills readily with each other, without expectation of getting something in return.

Development is a part of the culture: Leaders are coaching their staff and asking what they need to get better at what they do. Staff readily accepts responsibility to find and suggest ways to develop themselves.

Praise and recognition are given regularly: There is delight when someone receives praise. You aren’t the only person recognizing staff. Staff will praise and recognize each other’s contributions too.

Followers are anxious to have feedback: They regularly ask you, and others, for feedback on how they are doing because they trust it will be honest. They work hard to focus on their strengths and correct “critical feedback”.

Conflict is dealt with in a positive way: Conflict isn’t brushed under the rug. Everyone knows how to meet it head on, rationally discuss the issue, and get on with work.

The most important important thing that happens is the organizational goals and the bottom line are met or exceeded! What have you noticed in workplaces with healthy relationships?



I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

4 comments on “What happens in a workplace with healthy relationships?

  1. Great list, Mary Jo.

    Healthy relationships are fostered by great leaders who understand their purpose and have positive self-esteem. I wrote about this recently in my blog post Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence & Arrogance: http://leadbygreatness.com/self-esteem-self-confidence-arrogance/.

    The bottom line is that we should never accept of anything but people’s best, because they are worthy of achieving their best and being recognized for it. And that includes relationships.

  2. Nice, Kate. thanks for the link to your post that “enlightens” this topic.

    David, so often we “settle” or assume that there isn’t a “best” in others. How wrong we can be, when so much is possible. Thanks for the link to your post.

  3. I believe positivism prevails in the work environment, when there is lot of understanding and healthy relationships. Which plays as the base for business success and individual too.

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