When people are engaged in a positive relationship with someone , whether the relationship is personal, professional or public , the interactions are more likely to be relaxed and generally more constructive. When individuals experience a positive healthy relationship with someone, they are more likely to feel safe emotionally, psychologically and physically with that person. When someone feels safe, they are able to engage with the other person and situations. In the workplace it helps to build a cohesive team with members who trust and depend on each other. However, healthy relationships do not simply happen. It takes time, effort and consistency. Elements that are essential in developing a positive relationship include:

Care – Building positive relationships starts with caring about the other person’s thoughts and feelings and demonstrating that care consistently in communications and interactions. It begins with a conscious decision to consider the other person consistently in interactions.

Respect and Dignity – The demonstration of care requires treating the other person with respect and dignity. This is not contingent on the behavior or action(s) of the other person, and does not have to be earned, but it is instead given freely, one person to another. Respect involves actively listening to what the person says and trying to understand that person’s point of view and needs. When a person experiences respect and dignity on a consistent basis, it becomes easier to anticipate that this will occur and to trust the person. They trust that the person will not embarrass, humiliate or betray them. When there is trust it is more likely that forgiveness will occur when there is an error or conflict.

It is not always easy to treat people with respect and dignity, particularly when the other individual is not interacting using those attributes. It may be easier for individuals to consistently treat individuals with respect and dignity when they understand and embrace the concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the idea that we are all interrelated and that how we treat others defines who we are as people. When this becomes a core concept, we routinely treat people with respect and dignity regardless of their behavior because it has become part of our own value system. This concept is explored further in the relational section of the Mandt RCT events.

Trust – To develop trust it is important for individuals to be honest with each other, sharing thoughts and feelings and conveying them in a manner that continues to treat the other person with respect and dignity. Obviously being untruthful can easily destroy a relationship, but often it is the “sin of omission” that occurs, failing to share critical pieces of information often to prevent the other person from displaying a negative emotional response. If we truly want someone to trust us, we need to be honest with them even when the information conveyed may be unpleasant. Another important component of trust is how information is conveyed. Sometimes individuals feel the need to be “brutally honest” with someone. Perhaps instead of brutally honest we should strive to be compassionately honest when conveying painful information. It is also important to consider timing, when and how much information to convey. That decision should be based on the individual, the situation and what the motivation is for conveying the information. One way of gauging that is to consider, “Is the information shared with an intent to inform and support, or was the intent retaliation and the desire to inflict of emotional pain”?

Time – Healthy positive relationships don’t just happen. It takes time and consistency. Individuals need to see each other in a variety of situations to feel they know what to anticipate from the other. How much time it will take will depend on the background, culture and history of the individuals involved. When we are interacting with someone who has a history of abuse or neglect, that individual may be hyper vigilant and it may take even more time to develop trust. The more consistent you are, not only in your interactions with that person but also with others, the more authentic and trustworthy you will be considered to be and the more likely you will be found to be trustworthy. If at any time that trust is broken, it becomes much more difficult to get it back. While individuals may forgive, they are less likely to forget and trust again, and that will shape their interactions in the future.

Aaryce Hayes – COO –The Mandt System