Building relationship within your organisation

by Christian Kurmann

As the economic spotlight shifts to developing markets, with greater speed and growing complexities, companies are challenged to find new ways to manage their strategies, people, costs and risks.



This is why building relationships within organisations has never before been more critically important to understand and to do. As a leader or an executive, it is crucially important to comprehend the keys of relationship-building, and to apply these keys! The maintaining of good relationships is probably the most difficult leadership requirement. Because we don’t work well in isolation, which is the basis of good results, “togetherness” is so very important. Employees and their teams must be integrated in the decision process, freely sharing their ideas, thoughts, joys and worries. It is inspiring to feel part of a circle, a team, a department or an entire organisation. Caring about others inspires us to work together as hard we do. So how we build sustainable relationships within our organisation? What are some fundamental ways to develop relationships?



Here are some suggestions:

Listening to others when you engage with them;

Paying attention and being conscious when you meet with people;

Communicating openly and regularly;

Appreciating each other and extending yourself with appreciation;

Separating emotions from reality, but speaking from the heart;

Being empathetic and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes;

Expressing your desire to truly understand the other person;

Expressing respect and showing appreciation;

Accepting other people just the way they are;

Involving and engaging with others;

Enjoying the company with others, not in spite of them.


Often we want to make relationships rational, controllable and manageable. This arises when we do not accept ourselves as leaders and become ego-driven to the point of allowing the complete abandonment of ourselves. Once we establish these rational relationships, we often fall into the habit of protecting and securing them so that we can maintain them. Rather, it might be worth considering balancing relationships, adapting towards freshness, tolerance and unexpected surprises that help us to better understand each other, with freedom from control and relational ‘management’.

The more we observe any relationship from the outside, the more we realise that we are prone to comparing ourselves with others and placing high, unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others. This challenges the relationship and the entire organisational system, throwing it out of balance. In other words, when we regard a relationship from a fixed point, there will always be conflict.

To understand conflict, we must understand the relationship and our comprehension of relationship which must not depend on memory or on habit, but instead on awareness (without any accumulative process), commonality, trust, respect, security and inspiration. To make relationships between teams effective, we must avoid any sort of accumulation without conditioning – without a fixed point of thought or idea that is related to expectation – otherwise conflict will be unavoidable.

Because our conflicts are dependent on the sorts of relationships we keep with others, we need to understanding that this remains as one of the only problems we have. Is it possible that we can initiate our own inner-revolution, not by challenging the system or the masses, but rather by inward revelation of relationship? Ironically, changing an organisation on the outside starts by changing ourselves on the inside. That alone could be a real reformation, a radical change for each and every one of us as leaders.

Often problems between teams and employees appear so vast and insurmountable, we are often reluctant to start with small steps. We think we must connect with a large number of people and teams within the organisation to initiate and maintain relationships. However, we must recognise and confront any problem that challenges any relationship between oneself and the other person, team or organisation. This is why it is imperative that we cultivate discipline, endurance and patience to further cultivate awareness, because this results in self-knowledge. When we have self- knowledge we learn first about ourselves and secondly, we enlarge our capacity to understand others better and accept appreciation. That is why self-knowledge is the beginning of inner wisdom. Too often appreciation, devotion, friendship, gratitude, generosity, respect and cherishing others are missing at work.

It is probably a subtle awareness that makes a relationship work, because this makes a relationship much more vital and significant, as there is much more possibility for cultivating a sense of togetherness. If we are able to stay in a relationship in the organisation under difficult circumstances, then it becomes easier to maintain a balanced work relationship: because we are not seeking status, image or position, but instead we realise that we only possess ourselves.

To the contrary, to possess status quo, image, hierarchy, position and power – because we have nothing else – we become what we protect and secure. This means, quite simply, if we seek security within relationships, we are investing in comfort and perhaps even an unpleasant illusion: by seeking security in any sort of relationship we become dependent. And dependency hinders the cultivation of accountability, resilience and respect in all levels of hierarchy within the organisation.

Because insecurity of people creeps into dependency, the result is that a particular relationship is cast aside and a new one is started in hopes of finding lasting security. But we must understand there is really no guarantee of everlasting security in any sort of system, even with increasing extrinsic motivations such as incentives, bonuses, promotions or job enrichment. Dependency, in fact, breeds fear, and fear restricts the overall performance of any organisation.


This has a negative impact on employees, teams and the entire organisation when:

Bad behaviour is not visibly confronted;

Compensation, incentives and promotion are based on results rather than on behaviour;

Explosions are periodically evident from one or more senior executives;

Pre-meetings are the norm;

Communication is poor or is frequently one-way;

Email is used to cover one’s rear or is not proactive and positive;

There is a lack of clarity and alignment for day-to- day operations;

Virtues and values are not purpose-oriented nor reinforced.


Without understanding the process of security and fear, any sort of relationship within any organisation becomes a binding hindrance, almost a way of ignorance, which can only be overcome if we cultivate right thinking through self-knowledge. This offers employees, teams and the entire organisation a space in which to be emotionally safe and secure, an absolute imperative for meaningful relationships.

At the end of the day we must clearly comprehend that striving for self-improvement results in self- achievement, an ego-driven leadership style which throws any system out of balance. However if we are aware, we will cultivate inner observation of ourselves without condemnation, without denial and without acceptance. This brings the outward changes an organisation needs: being aware when we are in contact with people, teams and the entire organisation, and eventually towards the sort of purpose, meaning and sense we want to harvest.

We need, then, to see awareness as the way to better understand our own reactions, thoughts, feelings and emotions, as awareness is clarity, compassion, consciousness and courage. In other words, to go far we must to accept that we must first go very near towards our inner self, because without closely understanding ourselves, we cannot extend far within any relationship.

Since relationships are immediate between and within any system, there must first be a clear understanding of the purpose of relationship. And this purpose must be well-understood by every employee on every team. So without a social change in any sort of system, we must understand the relationships we keep between people, employees, teams or the entire organisation. Without real relationships, no real transformation will happen successfully.


Christian Kurmann