hand outreached for a handshake

Are Your Work Relationships Transactional or Transformational?

December 29, 2022

I talk often about transactional vs transformational relationships.  In our work ecosphere, we can achieve success through transactions – you do this, I do this, and we don’t really invest in each other. Transactional works, but it’s not ideal for performance in our work relationships. It’s impersonal and fails to allow people to engage fully with their heads and hearts.  

Transformational is different

It means you invest in those around you to express that you care about them and trust them. Likewise, others invest in your success. When we all work to improve our relationship quality, we tap into the discretionary effort of those around us – that extra effort people give if they really feel connected to their organization.  

I firmly believe that discretionary effort is where organizations uncover new ideas, exceed their goals, and promote innovations. These organizations also have a better vibe, because they’re built on trust and respect. 

I think we all know what it feels like to work in a place where trust and respect are absent … it’s not a pretty picture!

We can all play a role in positively influencing the quality of the relationships we have. In fact, I was talking about this recently when a thought snuck into my mind: Hey, Angie, how can you do a better job of investing in people around you?  

This caused me to pause for a second and reflect. I take pride in my relationships, so even though I feel I do a pretty good job of serving my network, I know there’s room for improvement, which sparked two ideas:

  1. Why don’t I stop emailing people and pick up the phone more frequently?
  2. What if I start hand-writing thank you notes, too?  

So … I did.

And then I discovered a few things quite quickly:

  • My friends and family appreciated a communication that had a tone to it.
  • I solved more problems (and answered more questions quickly) by using the phone vs. email.
  • Those I sent thank you notes to, shared with me how much they appreciated the thought and sentiment.

Ultimately, by taking these initiatives, I felt more engaged with those around me. These gestures really took me no more additional time to complete. It just took some intention and a bit of action. That’s all.  

Intention … and action.  

I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the things you are doing right now to develop your relationships? 


Suggested Readings:

You’ve got dreams, visions, and goals that are ready for your attention and action. What stands between you and your potential is your willingness to bet on you.

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