Mark Zuckerberg has nominated 4th February as worldwide Friends Day. He says, “Friendship isn't a distraction from the meaningful things in life. Friendship is what gives meaning to our lives.” All friendships are different, all encounter periods of strain, turmoil or upheaval – and few things can put pressure on a friendship like business. Many start-ups are founded by friends, the culture of “who you know” is ever-compounded by social and networking media, and the line between work and home in the modern workplace is changing. So can friendships survive in a professional relationship? And can businesses survive the friendships that go bad?
Within the workplace, there are many different personalities which translate into many different relationships, some good, some more challenging. Depending on the individual’s personality, they will interact differently with others, finding certain traits more attractive – and others more irritating. The old sayings ‘Opposites Attract’ or ‘Birds of a Feather’ come to mind. So what is it within our personalities that make us connect with another person as a friend, and how can that friendship survive working together? Facet5 has conducted research on relationships in its ‘Do Opposites Attract Study’, in order to both identify what does and doesn’t work, and how to help people overcome conflicting personalities to establish more effective relationships.
Facet5 measures an individual’s ‘Will’, ‘Energy’, ‘Affection’, ‘Control’ and ‘Emotionality’, which have been identified as the basic building blocks of people’s personalities. The Facet5 profile reveals a person’s underlying preferences, how they like to interact with others and behave, and how others may perceive them.
Will concerns a person’s drive and determination; Energy is their sociability and need for the company of others. Affection deals with trust and relationships, while Control, just as it sounds, reflects a person’s need to take an active role in what happens around them, their organisation, and need for structure. Emotionality is our overarching response to the world around us, our inner voice. Our Emotionality has a bearing on all the other factors, exaggerating or reducing the extent to which we under- or overreact to events around us. So when it comes to friendship, which opposites will make the sparks fly in a good way – and which ones are the deal-breakers?
It seems that introverts can rub along quite nicely with extroverts, and the really organised, structured types can cope with a bit of chaos in their lives. The creative and chaotic among us can welcome a little order, and the bold decision-makers are often quite happy alongside those with much less conviction; in fact, often it’s these very different behaviours which attract us to each other and make our friendships fun and exciting. These differences can of course cause frustrations, but people who are very different in certain ways are often highly compatible. However, there is one aspect of our character that needs to be pretty well aligned for us to be happy together long term – and that’s our Affection. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that it’s the way we view our relationships with others, and the value we place on those relationships, that matters the most. Someone trusting, caring and helpful is much less likely to be compatible in the longer term with someone who takes a tougher, harsher view of others; someone who doesn’t jump to help a stranger or who is quite cynical in their outlook of other people. Those with a more pragmatic outlook may get frustrated by a perceived softness and an excessively forgiving nature.
Because Affection centres on our sense of fairness, people with significantly different scores can find it very hard to see eye to eye and may have a very different view on the value of the relationship. It is this crucial difference in how we “View the World and those in it” that can undermine establishing rapport and the building of trust in a working relationship. In the modern workplace, friendships and professional relationships are becoming increasingly blurred. This has been amplified with Social Media making interaction public, where clients and suppliers can be connected in a virtual space where social lines may be inadvertently crossed, and friendships blurred with the more commercial need for professional detachment. Many modern businesses foster an informal, creative atmosphere that encourages social interaction and shared down-time, seeming to imply a desire for friendships and camaraderie to flourish for better employee engagement and commitment. It’s a different social and professional landscape to that of, say, 30 years ago. Roles are often more fluid, hierarchy less formally defined. All the more important then, is to establish a framework for communication that allows constructive communication when times get tough. Having greater self-awareness and greater understanding of our co-workers and friends, increases our effectiveness and enhances our working relationship.
Although, it is quite possible that Affection would have a less marked impact on many relationships in the workplace than in private life, as a personal bond is less crucial for an effective working arrangement, it does play a part in how quickly we establish rapport, relationships and trust between colleagues. The key lies in understanding yourself, your preferences and viewpoints and then the personalities of the colleagues around you.
Using Facet5 is an invaluable investment in a team’s development and overall effectiveness, opening up communication channels and helping establish a common understanding and language around behaviour, providing a foundation from which relationships can flourish.
Would you like to discover how to realise your potential and improve the effectiveness of your relationships? Start a conversation with us today, become friends with your local Facet5 Partner