This post is part of our In Relationship series, where we’re diving into what it means to truly be in relationship with others and why we make it our priority.
So what does it actually look and feel like when people are in relationship together? There are no set answers, of course. Relationships will look different based on your organization’s size, structure, set of personalities, and values. But we can share some striking changes we’ve seen in our client organizations.
Diversity and Safety. The organization brings every perspective, opinion, and set of experiences to the table. Disparate viewpoints and disagreements are welcome and given an equal voice. People know they won’t be punished for disagreeing or asking questions. They won’t lose standing for holding an unpopular opinion. There won’t be backlash for asking for accountability.
Everyone manages and processes their feelings. Feelings are invited into conversations, and people have the cultural competency to sit with their emotions, get curious about them, and use them to understand their needs. Individuals don’t discharge their feelings onto each other. They don’t personalize other people’s behaviors. They don’t try to rescue each other from their feelings. They honor boundaries. Their containers are full but don’t spill out onto one another.
Trust through uncertainty. People feel safe to sit with uncertainty, especially in showing up without having all the answers. They know uncertainty is part of the work and their task is to move through it together. When an individual is confronting uncertainty, they know others will help and support, them and will ultimately trust them to follow their own process and hold themselves accountable.
Our hope is not to achieve a “fully developed” relationship. People and relationships are dynamic, and each encounter changes us all. Instead, our hope is that within each encounter we offer and receive deep regard for our full selves.