Everyone, well okay – most people – understand the value of relationships. Whether these interactions are personal or professional, there is either value, or there is not. When the value of a relationship has diminished, both parties typically go their separate ways. Sometimes, those separations are formal like a divorce or contract termination. But, most of the time, people just drift apart or take a sharp exit stage left.
Alright, so that’s the negative aspect and it’s good to knock that out of the way first because the focus of this blog is on the positive aspects of relationships. When the chips are down, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world to have at least one person out there standing by you. Not only can you vent to them, but they can be there for you to listen, be empathetic to your needs, create stability, and boost your well-being. That’s awesome! Personal relationships can also play a vital role in professional development. Having a strong network of colleagues and mentors can help you learn new skills, gain valuable insights, and advance in your jobs. Not so awesome for those who are desperately lonely but we’ll cover resilience tips and making friends in another blog.
The Importance of Soft Skills in Building Strong Relationships
Personal relationships, although different for every individual and every couple, usually thrive along these value axes regardless of whether those relationships are platonic or intimate: love, loyalty, support, empathy, generosity, respect, communication, active listening, and other social skills. In essence, the fundamentals of interpersonal relationships begin with soft skills. The more relationships that we have or the deeper those relationships are correlates with the level of our personal satisfaction. When there’s support versus judgment, solid, anti-fragile relationships reduce our stress, accelerate our healing and ability to bounce-back after a challenge, renew our sense of purpose, and can even extend our lives.
Wow! All that from a relationship? Here’s the headline – the same holds true for professional relationships. Last week (May 21, 2021), our executive team worked its way through a challenging meeting. We had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The conversation wasn’t easy and the path forward was initially unclear. But one theme echoed with every statement made by each member of the team – we’re here to listen, support each other, and figure it out. Talk about anti-fragile relationships.
Building Anti-Fragile Relationships in Your Professional Life
Interpersonal connections on that level are mission critical for a startup, If you’re surrounded by sycophants telling you what you want to hear and fueling your ego, you’re going to miss the signs that trouble is brewing. How do you demonstrate that you value the anti-fragility of your connection? Make the time for the interaction. Listen. Be humble. Focus on the spirit of the intent behind the insights being shared. Offer a safe space where words can be shared with respect even if they aren’t the words you want to hear. Strong communication skills are also essential, so be clear and direct in your own communication and encourage others to do the same.
That’s how you grow. In fact, that’s how you grow as an individual and as an organization. Ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room isn’t going to make it go away. Nope. You need to collectively (and this part is important) acknowledge that the elephant exists. Then you need to figure out how to chunk it down into manageable bites to make it disappear. And the only way that you do that is if your relationships are anti-fragile. They need to be strong enough to be withstand the pressures that will inevitably be placed upon them as a startup grows from being a lightbulb moment of innovation into a business that generates revenues AND spurs a social impact that changes lives.
At STEERus, equity is our North Star and changing the success trajectory of the overlooked and underserved is what we aim to do, but that’s a tall order on top of the pressures and perils of running a business. To be successful, we need strong and anti-fragile relationships in our executive team. In this regard, we’re probably luckier than most because that is what we’ve cultivated.
Social impact derived from a sustainable business operations not only takes a village – in fact, an army of changemakers – but it also takes an overflowing handful of anti-fragile relationships. On any given day, there are thousands of tips out there for professional development for individuals and organizations; so many that it’s hard to mow through the weeds and sort out which ones are best for you to follow. Thankfully, there’s now a straightforward way to do that – personalized coaching journeys that are tailored to your unique needs. Which soft skills do you need more of? Less of? We get all that sorted out for you so that you can focus on growing as an individual or as an organization by leveraging the insights that are most important for where you are today.
One last parting tip – don’t forget to say THANK YOU and show that you value those anti-fragile relationships!