Establishing and Maintaining a Healthy Relational Culture - Part 2

Wed, 2017-08-30 12:03 -- tomjonez


"Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another."  - Vince Lombardi, Head Coach

As I mentioned last week, creating a culture in an organizational environment where people work well together and are supportive of one another is not an easy task.  And once created, such a culture is also not automatic thereafter – it must be guarded, nurtured, and maintained.

Although there is clearly a risk of oversimplification, there are (at least) three factors that must be developed, and monitored to develop a healthy and supportive climate in any organization – whether it is either a for profit or a non-profit entity. The first attribute I am exploring is to foster the sense among the team members of being “colleagues.”

In traditional military or law-enforcement settings, long before gender-based words became constrictive, this would have been called developing a sense of “brotherhood.” Today we could currently use the more generic term “collegiality” (my goal is to convey the sense of a culture where people care for each other - I am simply seeking to do so without needing to dance around the verbal minefield of gender-issue hot-buttons getting in the way of making the point). The resulting climate would be one in which each person thinks of their peers, supervisors, and organizational subordinates as “colleagues.”

As I ponder this while writing, maybe another way to phrase this could be “creating a relational climate where it feels more like a family than a task-group.”  Yet regardless of the best way to express it, the point is a matter of the relationship climate - and it can be fostered by leadership.  More precisely, it starts or stops based on leadership.

Exactly how this is accomplished is not formulaic.  Yet it must be intentional.  If there is to be effectiveness in an organization, the team will need to sense that their co-workers are “for” them.  While competing for results and even for position is a natural and valuable reality, if people are supportive of their “brothers/sisters/colleagues,” then – and only then - results and advancement will be celebrated and not resented.

The intentional brevity of these blogs does not allow space to prescribe specific strategies.  The objective here is to articulate that the relational climate must foster a sense among team members that they are in it together, supported, supportive, and are fundamentally “for” one another - as Coach Lombardi said, "...because they loved one another."

In summary, a climate of collegiality is one of (at least) three essentials to effective human endeavors.  And itis not automatic; rather, creating and maintaining a culture that embodies the spirit of collegiality, will require the Courage to Lead.