The Harvard Study of Adult Development has been running for 81 years. It started out in 1938 by following 724 men from two groups of men whose social backgrounds could not have been more different: Priviledged Harvard Sophomores and young men from an underpriviledged neighbourhood. Today, it includes the children of the initial study participants.
Here’s what’s striking: The researchers have found that happiness and health in late life depend less on genes, wealth or education than on the quality of the relationships one has throughout life.
Relationship is the number 1 factor for happiness and health.
Not genes, diet, exercise, or wealth, but the joy of being in good relationships.
Take this to the workplace, where so many people experience eroded trust, dysfuctional teams, and toxic relationships, which turn workdays into energy sucking battles. Instead of teaming up to create outstanding results for clients and the bottom line, people are preoccupied with each other.
Are you investing your energy into what you can co-create with your colleagues?
This matters, because in a team built around live affirming relationships, everyone can lean in. Team members who have each other’s back, enable each other to fearlessly engage, with the pressure to innovate or with complaining customers. More than that, leaning into relationships with trust provides the security we need to give ourselves permission to be authentic. Authenticity is the key to show up fully at work. And the alternative is checking out our personal values and perspectives at the office door, and with it our energy and creativity.
Work can be the place where we dare to actively shape the change around us.
Toxic environments, on the other hand, have us stuck in fight, flight, or freeze, or let us flock into factions. All of which are an expression of reacting unconsciously to external stimuli.
Do you want your team to get back into the driver’s seat?
Choose Leadership’s vision is organisations and teams that enable their people to react less and to create more. In their relationships within the organisation, in their relationships with customers, and in their relationship to the the change that needs to happen for meaningful and sustainable business.
To find out more about the Harvard study of Adult Development, watch this TED Talk.