“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family…in another city.” George Burns

In my work, I’m known as “The Family Man” and I talk about families, making the point that I believe we all have two sets of families – our families at home…and our families at work. I think that in many ways, organisations, companies, businesses are like families, for several reasons.

a          For starters, with our work families, we live together 5 days a week, for 8/10 hours a day, often in one place or one location.

b          Both families at home and at work are made up of a whole range of characters, personalities, idiosyncrasies, peculiarities.

c          With both families, there’s a hierarchy. At home there are the elders, grandparents, parents, the kids. At work there’s the Board, the MD, the leadership team, the management team.

d          Plus on top of all this, we don’t have a choice. We don’t get to choose our families at home or our families at work. You know the saying “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”. I think that should read “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family – or colleagues”.


I love you but…

Now on the plus side, there are lots of positive qualities and traits that we can take from our home families and apply them to our work families. Families at home are resilient, robust, loyal, they celebrate weaknesses, accept differences, watch each other’s backs, stick together, they are good in a crisis. I’d suggest that most of the time, most families get on just fine thank you very much.

However, is it not also true that sometimes we fall out, sometimes we don’t get on so well. I get on great with my family at home most of the time, sometimes they drive me crazy. I get on well with my work family/colleagues most of the time, sometimes they drive me crazy.

The thing is, when we fall out with our families at work, this can be damaging. You know, if there’s a disagreement, dealing with difficult colleague, having that tricky conversation, a clash of egos, some kind of friction. I’ll call it “conflict”. When we have conflict at work, this can cause problems:

  • 4/10 report being involved in some kind interpersonal conflict at work
  • Mangers spend on average 20% of their time dealing with conflict issues
  • The CBI estimates conflict in the workplace costs UK economy £33 billion every year

So because conflict at work can be damaging, logically it’s important we try to minimise this conflict and find ways to enable people to work together more effectively to achieve better results on a day to day basis.

After all, when you look at any organisation or business as an entity, the success of that business is pretty much down to people interacting well with people. If you don’t get on with people, you won’t get on in business. If you can’t collaborate with people, you won’t have a business. In today’s global fast changing environment, it’s vital to get people working together seamlessly across geographic boundaries, departments, functions.


The good news

The good news is I believe there is a way to help organisations work together more effectively, collaborate more successfully, function more professionally…all of which can help maximise the impact and effectiveness people have in their roles and ultimately improve overall performance for the organisation.

This is not about liking people, this is about working well with people. This is about emotional intelligence (E.I. – “being aware of our own emotions and handling interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”).

I use a simple but incredibly powerful 6 step model that helps people work together better. You can choose your friends but work colleagues and families you’re stuck with. However, you can still get on with them – and I show people how. Put simply, I help turn relationships into results.

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