Have you ever been in a restaurant and looked around at the amount of couples that aren't really talking or engaging with each other at all-sure looks like they've lost that 'loving feeling'. You wonder how that happens. Where does all the love and connection go?
Maybe when you started your job a while back, you were all jazzed up and were eager to get into work every morning and now you drag yourself in. The team that was so amazing to be a part of is disenchanted and disengaged; the meetings are dull, there's some visible disconnection and some back biting going on behind closed doors.
Last week I had a great afternoon working with a thriving team. They got along, there was laughter and it seemed like there was a strong connection. Their leader is very intentional about doing things on an ongoing basis for her team and it shows-they're thriving and successful, despite some challenges in the economy.
Most of the time I get asked to work with teams that are having challenges getting along, their interactions are verging on hostile and they're barely holding it together. There can be great deal of hostility and conflict. Working in that environment is detrimental for ones health, productivity declines and new initiatives are painstaking to roll out. Creativity grinds to a halt in high stress environments and eventually people leave.
How does this happen?
Relationships, whether they are professional or personal need some regular maintenance, not unlike owning a car.
Want your car to last long? I think we all do. It's a big investment and we want it to work well and suit our needs. We have to intentionally maintain our vehicles; however it seems that with relationships we so often think -'this is great!' and we keep moving ahead paying very little attention to maintaining the relationship itself.
When things start to get hard or challenging, we keep moving ahead, often overlooking the small things until they become large and overwhelming. It hard at that point to get the relationship back on track and so we let it slide even more.
How often do we drive around, long term in a car that has a mysterious sound going on under the hood?
Most people get concerned that it could be detrimental to the car's operation and bring it in fairly soon and make sure its ok. Some might also ask for the mechanic to look at the oil level, belts, tire pressure and air filter to make sure it's operating at its prime. Those small things can have a big impact on the car running at its optimal level of performance.
If we took the time to do these little 'check ups' in our relationships we could keep things running smoother as well.
What do your relationships need to keep them operating at their prime?
For everyone that could look a bit different.
Whether you're in a romantic relationship, part of a team or have a family-pick something to be more intentional about.
Forget work and connect on a different level-this doesn't have to mean a corporate ropes course every quarter, but do something- even something small to change things up-volunteer, go out to lunch, meet for coffee, go on a walk together.
Have fun-do something creative or challenging together, play games, lighten up.
Do small things-say hello to people in the hallways at work, greet your team members in the morning, hug and kiss you 'loves' every time you leave and come back-leave a wee note of appreciation for a team mate or your honey. Hold your spouses hand-why do we do this when we're dating and these small gestures subside the longer we're together?
Ask-spend some time finding out what you could do to be a more effective part of the team, your partnership or how to be a better parent. This feedback is vital and so rarely inquired about.
Be positive-pay attention to what is going well and take the time to say something about it. If it's something that someone does, even on a daily basis-acknowledge it. Thank your kids for putting their laundry in the hamper, your assistant for managing your appointments so well, your honey for making dinner. It maybe part of what's expected of them, but those acknowledgements go along way to building positivity and help build a strong base for your relationships so when things get rocky you've got a solid foundation.
At the end of the day you want to be intentional about creating healthy relationships, in the end that's what really matters. Look around you; give your relationships the 'tune ups' they need to thrive.