Leadership in Action – Creating Teamwork Through a Culture of Healthy Relationships

men and women inside a room

This post, the third of five on the PERMA model for Well Being, covers R – Relationships.

Healthy relationships, within your team and within the organization as a whole, improve communication, teamwork and trust. As a leader, you can reinforce a culture of healthy relations through setting strong expectations around the following three components of healthy relationships.


Developing an Unconditional Regard for Each Other

Having an unconditional regard for each other is at the core of healthy relationships. It is extending to each other the dignity we all deserve. Unconditional regard does not mean that we ignore ineffective/inappropriate behavior. It means we treat the person with dignity, regardless of the behavior. As a leader, role model holding people accountable for the behavior while at the same time extend them dignity. Within the team, we focus on the value that each team member brings. As long as they are part of the team, we support them 100%. So, when people are not performing, you need to address it. If it continues, you do, on some occasions, have to let people go. Again, do this with dignity. Failure to reinforce dignity and performance creates in and out groups, where work flows to the few “go to” folks and the rest are ignored.


Investing in Each Other’s Success

Taking time with people is investing in their success. When you have the foundation of regard, you can start to invest in each other’s success. The first step is creating a team that truly celebrates each other’s success, without any feeling of jealously. When we can see each other’s success as contributing to the overall success of the team and the organization, it becomes easier to invest in each other. To help achieve this, focus on the concept of mastery in their roles. When someone is at the point of mastery, they realize that the more they help and teach others, the more they continue to grow. The act of teaching and sharing strategies fine-tunes one’s own performance by breaking down their own success in a way that helps others to learn.


Cooperation and Teamwork

When your team has regard for each other, and is truly invested in the success of each other, true cooperation and teamwork follow. As the leader, reinforce teamwork, through clear goals, roles and accountabilities. Some teamwork happens in formal team arrangements, but most is in the informal cooperation that happens, day to day. Actively connect your direct reports with others within the team and in other departments to increase empathy for others’ roles and challenges, but also to develop better communication within and between departments.


As you reinforce these three components of healthy relationships, you Nurture Growth that builds trust, communication and true teamwork.