Focus on relationship, not on task
Leadership Coach, Front of Room Leader and Systemic Change Guide
A hand that holds a camera lens in front of a water and mountain landscape, putting a small part of the image into focus

In work relationships we tend to focus on the task at hand and the results we want to achieve. Most of the time we come from a place of “What do I need to deliver, and how can I do it most efficiently?” Depending on the circumstances, we might lament obstacles which, more often than not, we don’t address. Two typical obstacles are relationship dynamics and individual hang ups which get in the way of efficiency, and ultimately, of delivering the desired results. Therefore it’s time to challenge the task focus. Focus on relationship instead. It’s more effective!

Overwhelm and motivation

In most work environments we work in, the focus is on goals and the tasks to be completed to achieve them. The pace is fast. Overwhelm is common. And there is often a good bit of frustration about obstacles, real or imagined, that leaders or colleagues throw into the mix.

That has leaders wonder, again and again, how to best “motivate people” to deliver the results they want from them.

Does that sound familiar?

Shifting the space

In our work with organisations, we endeavour to help them look underneath the surface of tasks, behaviours, and processes. We invite them to pause and focus on relationship and on systemic forces that hinder everyone from being their own best version and from doing the best work they could.

A major shift towards reaching more of your leader’s and staff’s full potential is to support everyone to show up in a way that allows those they lead or partner with, to operate from their fullest potential.

Tending to the relationship environment

Here are two questions, inspired by Nora Bateson, to shift the way you work together:

Who am I when I am with you?

Who could I be when I am with you?

These questions speak to the relationship space and the enquiry into the environment we co-create at work: What space can we create together so that we can all

  • feel safe to speak our truth,
  • ask for what we need,
  • bring our whole selves to work, and
  • feel that we belong rather than fit in?

Over to you

If you wonder what these questions even mean, ask them with different relationships in mind:

  • Who can you be with the colleague you find challenging? How do you show up?
  • How can you show up with your manager?
  • How about with your best friend?
  • With your partner?

Looking at these relationships, ask yourself:

  • Where are you careful?
  • Where do you hold back thoughts, ideas, or criticism?
  • Where are you creative and playful, easily finding novel ways of meeting a challenge?    
  • Where are you outspoken and authentic, without fearing to be punished in any way?
  • Where do you feel trapped?
  • Where do you feel your agency?

We bring out the best or the worst in each other by creating a safe space for each other – or by creating a minefield.

It may sound straightforward, but more often than not, we find that we have created an unsafe space without intending to do so.

Is it time to explore the space in your team or organisation?

Get in touch with us for a complimentary conversation.

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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