Workplace Relationships: Make Connections Not Transactions

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on transactional relationships at work the image shows a woman in front of a laptop with her head in her hands.

Do you have those people that your stomach just drops every time you see an email or a phone call from them? Those whose messages induce a feeling of dread?

These are the people who only reach out when they need something.  It’s a very transactional relationship that is often a request for your time or a complaint.  So the minute you see their phone number on your phone, or you see a Slack from them, your first thought is, “Oh no, what’s wrong now?”

Then there are those whose emails or messages spark some joy, those with whom you are happy to interact. While not everyone needs to be a workplace best friend, being labeled as purely transactional can harm professional relationships. The key lies in making an effort, reaching out when not in need, and offering assistance rather than consistently seeking it.

To avoid becoming THAT person, the one who colleagues avoid, take a moment to evaluate your recent interactions. Consider the depth of your relationships on a scale of one to ten, with ten being deeply connected and one being purely transactional. If you find yourself scoring five or below, it’s time to invest in building authentic connections.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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