Bhavna Dalal [[www.bhavnadalal.com](http://www.bhavnadalal.com/)] is the Founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a Leadership Development company based in Bangalore, India. She is an Executive Master Coach [ICF MCC Certified] with an MBA from IIM Calcutta and has a B.E. in Electronics. She has authored the books Checkmate Office Politics and Team Decision Making endorsed by the likes of Marshal Goldsmith and Dr. Jadgish Seth among many other business leaders. Bhavna has been serving on several compliance commitees and is the Vice President on the Board of Directors of Bodhi Education Society (A not-for-profit that supports schools in rural Andhra Pradesh).
It is well established that as you go higher up the corporate ladder, the ability to work well through people becomes even more vital. How you build, develop and sustain relationships with peers, partners, subordinates and seniors determines your success to no small extent. A tremendous skill, awareness and emotional intelligence is required to be good at this.
While coaching successful senior leaders across industries, I come across two distinct types of people. The first type is those who have excellent relationships at work and also prioritise their personal relationships. The second type is those who have fantastic work relationships; they are just as hardworking. They have dedicated their entire life to their careers but at the expense of investing time in their personal relationships.
The lifestyles we lead demand a lot out of each of us. We need more nourishment and support, which the love and care of personal relationships give us. What ends up happening, though, is we get used to the patterns of what is not working in personal relationships and start accepting them with the attitude that certain things cannot change, and we just have to live with them. We end up living a less fulfilled and mundane existence. To avoid conflict, we are not even willing to make it better.
In the long run, these patterns will backfire. I have seen people lash out in meetings, behave aggressively towards others, or have meltdowns for apparently “no reason” triggered by a minute seemingly unrelated incident.
We are human beings with emotions—this fact is undeniable. Suppressing unwanted emotions will get them to emerge at the most inopportune times, so you are forced to take note of them and process them. We are not two different entities at home and work. Taking the time and space to work on your relationships will have substantial positive impact at work and in other areas of your life. Yes, you can push it away for a bit, but it will show its ugly side unless you deal with it. The dealing could even mean terminating relationships that are not serving your higher good, or looking at small steps you can take in mending meaningful relationships.
The leadership muscles that get strengthened through tending to your relationships are understanding your values, beliefs and needs, and those of the people around you. If you cannot do that with the most important people in your life, then how can you do it well with colleagues you are looking to inspire?
Relationships, whether personal or professional, are the most unobstructed windows into personal development—not always easy but surely the most transparent. Use them and work on them to understand more about what you need to thrive in all areas of your life.
The author is Founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners, a Leadership Development company based in Bangalore, India.