written by Angie Morgan
My colleagues and I talk a lot 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 relationships work, but they’re not ideal for performance. This type of relationship is impersonal. When we don’t share more than just a to-do list, we fail to allow people to engage fully with their heads and hearts.

Transformational relationships are different – 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. Plus, transformational relationships make people feel safe and protected.

I firmly believe 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!)

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.

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