Healthier relationships

In January 2005, the National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH) defined a healthy culture [in part, reflected by the quality of relationships] as an organization that clearly articulates the importance of individual contributions to organizational success. To achieve this, they concluded that organizations must provide innovative structures that support cooperation and emphasize individual productivity and organizational competitiveness.

Given a shared-context around producing value, people will be better equipped to resolve conflicts, merge ideas, and ensure their focus is directed at the right things, those things that produce value for others.

In order to achieve this, people and organizations need to improve how they work together, both in and outside the organization. In many cases, existing relationships need to be revisited and redefined and new relationships need to be developed. People, therefore, must be equipped, skilled at embracing diverse perspectives, reconciling differences, managing interdependencies and finding common ground. Unfortunately, many people find it easier to surround themselves with people who share their beliefs. This is a problem. In today’s networked era, real answers will be the result of crossbreeding not inbreeding.

Reframing an individual’s interpersonal approach and/or attitude toward challenging relationships and social circumstances will have a profound and lasting impact on their ability to manage stress, increase personal effectiveness and improve overall quality of life. However, in addition to developing interpersonal traits, environmental factors and/or structural deficiencies present in many organizations and/or work units must also be addressed. Deficiencies, such as lack of focus, conflicting agendas, ineffective work processes, and poor understanding of the needs and priorities of customers and/or internal clients. If not addressed, these structural deficiencies will undermine relationships and derail collaboration due to the inability for people to find common ground.

To remain relevant, organizations must encourage and nurture an environment which welcomes divergent thinking. Therefore, people must develop the social agility and interpersonal tact to be effective in dealing with others – others, quite often, unlike themselves.