Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast

A Fresh Perspective on Improving Relationships at Work - Inner Development Goals Part 4

September 23, 2022 Gerrit Pelzer, Martin Aldergard Episode 13
Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast
A Fresh Perspective on Improving Relationships at Work - Inner Development Goals Part 4
Show Notes

In our series on the Inner Development Goals (IDG), we have already covered Being and Thinking. Today, we discuss the third IDG category: RELATING

Many leaders are focused on action to get results. The importance of relationships is often underestimated, as we discussed in  Relationships at Work. Sometimes leaders intentionally want to keep a “professional distance” thinking it helps them to “stay in power”. “We are here to get the job done, not for relationships.” But in reality, we need relationships to get results.

The IDG framework offers practical guidance for leaders to improve relationships by developing four skills and qualities:

1) Connectedness: Having a keen sense of being connected with and/or being a part of a larger whole, such as a community, humanity or global ecosystem.

Modern science confirms what wisdom traditions like Buddhism have known for over 2,500 years: everything and everyone is interconnected. We can’t exist in isolation, we “inter-are.” We are part of a larger system. Leaders can’t stay outside the system.

Leaders need to strengthen the connection with this system. Improving the connection with others helps on the task level and get better results.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is my intention and mindset when I am about to interact with other people? Can I be curious and interested in the others?
  • What does a great "connection" feel like? 
  • How well did I connect with people at work today?
  • What can I do tomorrow to make a great connection with people?

2) Humility: Being able to act in accordance with the needs of the situation, without concern for one's own importance.

Humility helps to make leaders more approachable. A humble leader can say, “I don’t know. I need your help.” Being humble does not mean you can’t be tough and have a strong drive for results. Humility is not a weakness, on the contrary: it takes confidence to show humility.

Reflection Questions:

  • Am I confident enough to be humble?
  • Does our culture allow people to be humble?

3) Empathy and Compassion: Ability to relate to others, oneself and nature with kindness, empathy and compassion and the intention to address related suffering.

Empathy means having a sense of what is going on in another person, especially what they are experiencing emotionally. Emotions provide the energy for action. Thus, leaders need to understand what emotions they might trigger in other people.

Compassion relates to the intention of reducing another person’s suffering. 

Reflection Questions:

  • How aware am of my own emotions?
  • How good am I at having a sense of what other people are experiencing?
  • How often do I switch on my empathy “antennas”?

4) Appreciation: Relating to others and to the world with a basic sense of appreciation, gratitude and joy.

We can be so busy and focused on problem-solving that we completely forget to appreciate what is already good in our lives or what we and others have accomplished. Appreciation means not taking other people and their work for granted. Appreciation can be expressed in simple things like saying ‘thank you’. Expressing that other people are doing a great job and you as a leader notice this.

Being appreciated  is a strong motivational factor at work.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do I show my appreciation at work?
  • What might I take for granted (people and tasks) in my everyday life?

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