The ABCs of Working Relationships

August 3, 2016

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb


Business People and Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces

You are a successful business executive. You set big goals, and you know how to get things done. But your team just can’t seem to measure up. What’s the problem?

Assuming you have done your due diligence in hiring qualified individuals for your team, it most often comes down to one issue…

You have a relationship problem.

How can you tell?

Look for the ABCs.

We all know someone who has suffered a broken relationship. Hindsight being 20/20, if we look back, we realize the signs were evident.

These likely fell into three main categories:


The couple began to drift apart. Once there was great effort on both parts to show an interest in each other, but over time, they stopped trying so hard and apathy entered.


The differences that intrigued them while dating became a source of constant criticism later in the relationship.


Somewhere in the relationship, honesty, trust, and open communication turned to concealment. At that point, the relationship went from damaged to broken.

Leading a business is not so different from any other human relationship. In fact, at the core, it is all about relationships. Look around your office. You are likely to see the ABCs playing out right before your eyes.

Do you have highly qualified and vetted employees who…

  • Have no passion for their work?
  • Can’t get along with their co-workers?
  • Are not openly communicating with each other?

These are all relationship problems.

Now the good news is, relationships can be mended.


You reverse the ABCs into CBAs.


When you care, you DO something. When you care about a cause, you will run a marathon. How do you get your people to care about their work? You show them the bigger picture – show them how the parts they do fit the whole picture. Show them their work matters. Ask for their ideas. If your people are in a task-centric position, this is critical. We all need to feel that what we do has value to the world. Do your people feel that sense of value? Think about it. If your employees truly felt their work mattered to the world, would they still be apathetic?


People are different. There are different personality types and various combinations of those types. It is a fascinating study, and one that is core to my business. People also possess varying degrees of strengths and skills. And they come with challenges born of experience in life. These differences can be a source of intrigue or dissension, depending on whether or not they are viewed as gifts or liabilities. When a team values its differences, it pulls the individuals together like a magnet. When they do not value the differences, you can try to push them to work together all day every day, and it just won’t happen.


Articulation is an interesting word. We think of it most often as the idea of putting thoughts into words. But it has another meaning, which is fascinating. It is used to describe an area where two parts are joined together. When we properly articulate our thoughts or feelings in a relationship, it helps to join the relationship together. Are your team members communicating with each other to a point where the team is joined as one working unit? Are you as the leader clearly articulating your thoughts to your team? With open communication comes trust…and trust is the bedrock of any good relationship.


If you really want your team to reach high goals and work together, don’t start with the goals. Start with the relationships. Build those based on the CBAs, and reaching the goals will be a welcome side effect.