The Energizer

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3 Tips for Creating Resilient Work Relationships—and it’s NOT Money

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, February 04, 2019
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Let me first define what a resilient work relationship looks like. It is not someone who stays in the organization forever. The truth of the matter is people can “stay” but their minds and spirits are gone. Their bodies are present, but they are absentee landlords!

Resilient work relationships are formed between individuals who GROW through challenging times as well as opportunity. Resilient work relationships last even if someone moves into a different division or even moves out of the organization. Resilient work relationships mean that both parties speak well of each other, cheer each other on, and reflect on the time within the organization as powerful and meaningful.

I know. You’re asking: “If it is powerful and meaningful, why would someone leave?"

Life changes. Interests change. And new opportunities can present themselves. My best employees were those who gave me 125% of their effort because they knew I had their best interests at heart—even if that meant assisting them to move in other directions. And resilient work relationships also create space for an employee to return!

Tip #1: TALK! Resilient work relationships are developed one conversation at a time. Conversation is not accomplished thru text or email but rather face-to-face even its video through Zoom, Skype or Facetime. The conversation has focus. It’s not about solving the current problem or a touch-base check up on a project. Rather, this conversation is a check INTO how the employee is faring. Think head, heart and hand. Ask what the employee is thinking about her current role, the work load, and the organization. Ask, how she feels about these things and what makes her heart heavy or light? Lastly, ask what she would like to do, learn, or experience to help with personal growth.


Tip# 2: LISTEN! There’s an Irish saying: “The good Lord gave us two ears and a mouth implying that we are to listen twice as much as we speak.” Sadly, that is often not the case. Relationships flourish and grow when each person feels heard. The body language says, “you have my full attention”. The questions or statements a manager makes reflect a desire to understand more deeply. The manager is listening for cues that can take the conversation in a deeper direction, a different direction. As Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni state in their revised book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, “cue sensitivity is curiosity in action.”


Tip #3: CHECK UP & CHECK IN! Absence does NOT make the heart grow fonder. I’m not talking here about micro-managing or hanging over someone’s shoulder. Rather, every relationship has a certain comfort level with how often one likes to be contacted, to be asked about how she is faring, and what help might the manager offer. A simple check-in says, “I care”. And when everyone is faced with competing demands, time pressures, and increased expectations—a simple touch base says, “You matter”.

Resilient work relationships can span the course of time, even if the environment shifts.


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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