healthy relationships

15 Questions for More Powerful Relationships

With so many personalities in the workplace, have you ever found it difficult to work with everyone?  In every organization, regardless of where you work, you will naturally have some coworkers that are more challenging to work with.  Hopefully you are in a culture that has very few of these but learning how to boost your relationship is a skill worth perfecting. 

Think about 1 person in your company with whom you would like to improve your relationship. Read on to find some important questions to ponder to begin nurturing a more positive and effective relationship. 


1.     If you could change one thing about this relationship, what would you change?  What could you do right now to effect that change?

2.     What is working well about how you both work together?  What could be improved?

3.     What would need to happen for you to walk towards this relationship?  What would cause you to walk away?

4.     How might you be misunderstood by this person?  How might you be misunderstanding them?

5.     How have you contributed to the current health of this relationship?

6.     Do you value this person’s success as much as your own?  If not, why not?  What could you do to change that?

7.     What, if anything, would have to change for you to describe this relationship as collaborative?

8.     What do you expect and need of this person in this relationship?  What are their expectations and needs of you?  How could you confirm the expectations?

9.     What mistakes do you need to recover from?  What mistakes do you need to forgive this person for?

10.  How much time and energy are you willing to invest in developing this relationship?

11.  How do you talk about this person when they are not present?

12.  What can you learn from others who have a good relationship with this person?

13.  What baggage are you bringing that you need to let go of?  What baggage are they bringing that they need to let go of?

14.  How would you describe your decision-making style?  In what way is this similar to or different from this person’s preferred style?

15.  In what ways would this person describe you as challenging to work with?  What would make this person not want to be your supporter or advocate?

 Spend some time reflecting on each question.  Ponder it for a while.  Jot down some notes.  Notice if you are seeing any themes pop up.  Improving relationships requires you to see the other person differently.  Then act!  You can continue to think about it for weeks, but acting on -those thoughts is the only way it will improve. 

Healthy Relationships Don't Just Happen

It’s not exactly a profound idea that meaningful, happy, healthy relationships are key to a happy life.  We’re all aware of this on some level.  However, as people with busy lives, we often unintentionally prioritize life’s everyday demands over these relationships. 

So what impact does this have on our health and happiness?  In his Ted Talk, Dr. Robert Waldinger suggests some insights to answer this from the longest-running study on adult development created by researchers at Harvard University.  One key takeaway is:

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier…period.”

Interestingly, the relationships can come in any form (familial, romantic, platonic, community-based, etc.) as long as they are positive and impactful. 

We know workplace relationships can have a profound impact (joyful or distressful) on our overall satisfaction and performance.  This study shows that people who fared the best were those who leaned in to relationships.  “What might leaning into relationships even look like?  Well, the possibilities are practically endless,” says Waldinger.

Employees who know how to sustain good relationships are happier and healthier, which ultimately adds to the value they give back to their company.  This synergistic relationship promotes positive cultural shifts and overall well-being in the workplace.

Dr. Waldinger’s final comment resonated with me, “The good life is built with good relationships.”  Providing your employees with the right tools for communication, feedback and how to overcome conflict will support their ability to build good relationships and support them into new approaches toward creating meaningful bonds with others.

Here is the Ted Talk from Dr. Robert Waldinger that was referenced above.  He shares information on the Harvard Study of Adult Development which began over 75 years ago and continues to this day.  Of the 724 original participants, about 60 are still alive, most of them in their 90s.
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