Relationships, by their nature, require constant and consistent tending. The quality of the care you put into these relationships translates into either a negative or positive experience. That is, the other person perceives every one of your interactions as good or bad. If you choose to behave poorly during an interaction, that experience will be considered negative; conversely, if you conduct yourself well, that is experience will considered positive. This idea is similar to emotional and trust bank accounts that we have discussed in the past, in that connectivity has a cumulative effect: The more your individual behavior is seen as negative, the less likely you will be at developing connections. If you want to increase the positive experiences and thus enhance your connections, you must improve your leader behavior.
Effects of Negative Behavior
Over time, negative experiences erode a leader’s influence. This is particularly true for leaders who give plenty of lip service to forging effective relationships but do nothing to advance that cause. These leaders ignore or do not seek feedback, do not listen to others or share information with them, micro manage their staff, allow their emotions to control them, take accomplishments for granted, and offer more criticism than aid and resources. None of these behaviors is conducive to making and sustaining connections. They breed cynicism, distrust, and resistance to change, even those behaviors that improve organizational functioning. Worse they can bring productivity to a screeching halt. In health care, these repercussions have devastating effects on patient quality and care.
One survey of employees who left their job indicated that 25 percent quit because of “ineffective leadership” and 22 percent resigned as a result of “poor relations” with a manager. While some percentage of turnover is healthy for the organization, to replace the inevitable bad hires, we cannot dismiss the relevance of the findings from attrition studies that claim that failed connections are the primary reason people leave their jobs.
Advantages of Positive Connections
Positive interactions strengthen influence. This kind of connection achieves the following:
- Improves performance in all areas
- Boosts morale, quality, and productivity
- Promotes trust and accountability
- Creates a culture in which work is meaningful and its performers are valued
In this environment, the leaders are self-aware and serve as role models of responsible, professional behavior. The employees, in turn, are highly collaborative; they understand what the organization is trying to achieve and how their behavior and performance contribute to that bigger picture. Trust and accountability are not just expected, they become the norm.