Can you help leaders THRIVE even amidst ongoing uncertainty?Read More
Share with friends
Are you finding your connections with your colleagues slipping away as the pandemic draws out, with your work silos becoming more entrenched, more rigid, and less connected? While many of us are working from home, making connections and maintaining our relationships with our work colleagues is likely pretty far down the list of priorities. But the truth is, when we ignore our relationships with our colleagues, we start to lose our relational coordination, which affects not only our work outcomes but also our wellbeing.
“Relational coordination is a process of coordinating your work with other people, through high quality communication,” said Jody Hoffer Gittel, professor at Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management, when I chatted with her last year.
“Picture it as a network among the various people or stakeholders who are needed to accomplish a task,” she said. “And when you’re able to build relational coordination among people, you see better quality outcomes, better safety outcomes, and more efficiency because people don’t have to duplicate each other’s work, and they’re not working at cross-purposes.”
Jody’s research suggests that good relational coordination helps us feel better in the workplace, too.
“Strong relational coordination has a consistently positive impact on worker wellbeing, including high levels of satisfaction and engagement and lower levels of burnout,” she said. “There’s also evidence that financial outcomes that are beneficial to the organisation, and its better for the clients when work colleagues are more coordinated.”
Unfortunately, the culture that has developed in many organisations means that people with expertise, knowledge, and accountability are bundled together in silos and status hierarchies. And this requires deliberate and intentional effort to create structures, practices, and connections to break down these silos in order to build relational coordination across the organisation.
So, what can we practically do to re-focus our energy and attention on relational coordination when it seems almost impossible while working remotely?
Jody suggested trying the following:
Are there ways you can take time to prioritise relationships with your colleagues to help build your relational coordination at work?
Contact Drake WorkWise / Drake WellnessHub if you’re looking for additional support in how to cultivate better relationships in your workplace and foster a positive environment for all to thrive in.