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Why Friendship Belongs In The Workplace

Written by: Mira Taylor, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

There are many businesses and leadership styles in the corporate world that teach an ideology that you should never be friends with the people you work with. The arguments toward this callous approach to relational dynamics in business are usually somewhere along the lines of “it causes unprofessional behavior” or “it creates unhealthy dynamics” in the work environment. This is said all the while terms like ‘camaraderie’ and ‘rapport’ are thrown around leadership training courses as important factors to the success of a business. Fun fact: Camaraderie and friendship are synonymous, and rapport has everything to do with emotional connection, something that is usually a denotation of a friendship. To make a further point of this I’m including the definitions of these words in this article.

Camaraderie (noun): A spirit of fellowship. Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.


Rapport (noun): A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.


You might also notice that the definition of camaraderie speaks to the ‘spirit’ of fellowship as that which is embodied and consciously present in an environment to provide for a sense of camaraderie. Spirit is a term in the business world which, much like friendship, has a certain sense of unnecessary taboo attached to it when spoken about in a corporate minded setting. There seems to be an idea that these words are representations of potential weaknesses in business, but nothing could be further from the truth.


When looking at business from the business alchemy perspective there is an awareness that friendship, and the relationship dynamics and communications that can occur because of it, only make a business stronger and more successful. The more authentic camaraderie there is present in business the more open communication is and the more things can be dealt with efficiently and effectively as a result.


Without the sense of connection and rapport that is created by friendship in work environments, there isn’t any emotional connection which means that energies can’t flow. Just as with the rest of the world the energies of “e-motion” (a.k.a energy in motion) are the undercurrents of consciousness that make the world go round, including within the business world. If these types of connections can’t be established in a work environment because they have been actively defined as unprofessional, it is unlikely there will ever be a sustainably successful rapport created within the business. Not only should employees feel like they are meant to have a sense of camaraderie between each other, but it ought to be a sincere focus of leadership to teach and embody what the most authentic expression of friendship, as a method of leadership, is supposed to look and feel like.


Developing Meaningful Connections and Healthy Relational Dynamics at Work


It’s been said for many years that how successful you are in business, and life generally, is all about the connections you have. One of the most important places for connection within business dynamics, at a micro level, is within the relational ecosystems established amongst those who work there. It’s also incredibly important for leadership to build and maintain a sensory awareness of whether relationship dynamics within the business are working well or need to be adjusted. This means encouraging business leaders to develop a level of emotional intelligence and intuitive awareness that allows them to appreciate whether certain groups or departments within a business are engaging in a healthy emotional dynamic. These sorts of relationships also serve to encourage and support the mental, physical, and spiritual wellness of each employee. This state of employee wellness establishes a nurtured sense of mind, body spirit for the larger entity that is the business itself. When a business is operated by individuals who connect in this way it also allows for the larger entity of the business to have this same type of connection and relationship with other businesses. This might seem like a silly notion but if you look at the way businesses cooperate or compete with each other within the industry, it is not difficult to understand when businesses view each other as friends or foe and what that type of more macro relationship dynamic means for the longevity and success of those business. Statistically speaking, businesses who are in friendship with other businesses or, as some might put it, businesses who cooperate more so than they do compete, have been proven to be the more successful models.


Using Communication Styles that Promote Camaraderie & Connection


One of the major incongruencies within business models is centered around the fact that business leaders speak about and promote the idea of camaraderie and connection from a rote and inauthentic place. Leaders need to not just talk about the idea of this sort of connection but need to be able to embody and actively express it themselves by the ways they communicate. The turn of phrase and understanding of being able to “talk the talk and walk the walk” most assuredly applies.


This communication style includes the ways that they speak to and express themselves with others, their body language style and tone, the types of encouragement they utilize to motivate others and the ways in which they mediate relationships dynamics from a mindset of empathy, compassion, and support. Without friendship present in leadership or business there is a lack of connection and care that is vital to the ability of employees to feel connected to each other, the business, and something all together larger than themselves. This sort of connection and relational dynamic promotes a sense of feeling inspired and creatively appreciated amongst the employees which underlies the long-term success of the business. When thinking about this on a larger scale you might imagine how two businesses that work well together have a sense of camaraderie between each other. You might also appreciate the archetypal similarities present between the way a business conducts itself as an entity within the industry and the style of interpersonal relationship development there is (or isn’t) amongst those who work there.


Understanding The Subtle Nature of Emotional Language in Business

One of the most important communication styles within business that promotes and grows the type of intellect necessary for long term success is to teach a sense of appreciation for the language of emotional energy within a workplace setting. This concept is centered around an understanding of the spiritually engaging nature and emotional connectivity that should be created within business in a way that supports a healthy relational dynamic. It’s important to note that a healthy relational dynamic is presently open to the more fluid behavior and expression of emotions as a creative force within business. This kind of subtle communication intellect is based in the development of one’s awareness of the spaces and places that emotional energies feel disharmonious or detrimental instead of inspiring, engaging, connective and supportive. Another essential skill of this type of intellect is rooted in one's ability to understand what changes can be made to create better harmony and synergy within the emotional ecosystems of the business as a whole. The more balanced, diverse and unencumbered the emotional ecosystem within a business’s organizational structure can be, the more tuned-in and genuinely productive the business becomes as a result. The ability to understand the emotional language of the bodies in the room, for leadership especially, becomes an important factor in their ability to make the most effective and emotionally minded business decisions. When leaders are able to understand this sort of ‘unspoken’ language and rapport within a business enviroment, most of the normal relational challenges that can arise and cause unbeneficial disruption are able to be more easily anticipated and avoided. By creating this sort of intuitive engagement from leadership as a guiding principle of responsiveness within the business these leaders are also able to create and teach an understanding of this sort of awareness throughout the entire organizational structure. Imagine how much more enjoyable a workplace setting would be with leaders who understand how to genuinely mediate and create connection between those who work there and promote a sense of collaboration over competition.


Self-Guided Questions for Understanding the Existing Emotional Wellness of Your Business


How would you describe the current relational dynamics that are present in your workplace environment? Examples: Stuffy, engaging, tedious, collaborative, competitive etc..


How would you describe the communication style of your business’s leadership from a more emotionally aware perspective? Examples: Supportive, forceful, encouraging, patronizing etc.


What level of emotional connection and engagement does it feel like you are meant to have with your coworkers and the larger purpose of the business itself on a scale of 1-10? (1 being ‘no connection’ and 10 being ‘very emotionally connected’.)


When thinking about the relationships you have in the work environment that provide the most enjoyment and success on a consistent basis – how would you describe the underlying nature of these relationships? Do they have the same underlying emotional qualities and values as what you have with friendships and(or) family?


What relational groups within the organization seem to work the most effectively together? What would you say are the levels of emotional connection and camaraderie present within those relationship dynamics?


What 5 emotions do you feel on a consistent basis while at work, thinking about work or in relation to your work environment?


What are 5 emotions do you want to feel on a more consistent basis while at work, thinking about work or in relationship to your work environment?


Some Examples of Emotionally Connective Activities for Businesses


Creating company playlists that the employees can add music too and feel connected and inspired by Shared non-work-oriented rituals and socially connective events the promote emotional connection Examples: Creating a large mural are piece of artwork that everyone can contribute to.


A quotes wall where employees can write inspiring quotes and comments to each other (physical or digital) Offering to pay for educational workshops or classes outside of work based on enjoyment and social connection. Examples: A pottery, painting or cooking class


To learn more about building better mind-body-spirit wellness in businesses, intuitive leadership coaching and other holistic business consulting services visit here.


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Mira Taylor, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mira Taylor is an Integrative Therapist, Subconscious Medium & Organizational Wellness Consultant who focuses on guiding clientele toward total wellness by combining concepts of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, and sustainable life practices. Mira is a member of the International Association of Therapists and master certified in Modern Applied Psychology, Cognitive Remodeling Therapy, Subconscious Integration Therapy, Mind-Body-Spirit Wellness, Wellness Linguistics, and Archetypal Psychology.


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