Use our best practices to strengthen your relationships with coworkers, friends and family.
Do we need ‘loved ones’ (i.e. friends and family) to be successful in business? No. There are many examples of high achievers in the corporate world who are basically loners with very low need for affiliation.
Do we need close personal relationships to be happy? Most people will answer yes and research supports the association between positive relationships and reported happiness. Tim Kasser, associate professor at Lenox College, in a study on intrinsic values, found that people who focused on being connected to friends and family, exploring interests and skills and “making the world a better place” were happier than those who focused mostly on material goals. Marriage, at least for men, is also linked with higher levels of health and increased longevity. Good relationships can provide a source of support, empathy, listening, sharing, laughter, love and even meaning. In addition, family objectives are often a key motivator for an executive’s strivings.
As wonderful as this sounds, a business career can present challenges to relationships and relationships can present challenges to a business career. The first reason is time, something I talk about in each chapter. Forming and maintaining good relationships requires time. The second reason is the potential for relationships to deteriorate. Relationships are particularly prone to being impacted by vicious cycles. These cycles can eventually consume large quantities of time and energy and distract our focus from other goals and priorities.
So the irony is that, if relationships don’t receive the time, energy and focus that are needed to support them, they can become major consumers of your time, energy and focus. The flip side of those wonderful attributes (empathy, laughter, love, etc.) I described earlier is that relationships have the potential to bring out some of the worst feeling we may ever experience. Guilt, resentment, insecurity, humiliation, abandonment and abuse can be, and is, experienced in relationships.