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4 Steps to Optimise Work Relationships with Validation

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Successful leadership embraces relationships and collaboration and recognises the fact that validating employees is a solid platform for building great working relationships.

Effective communication skills are imperative for building strong relationships and good validation skills are also good communication skills. They are not exclusive to your private relationships but matter a lot in your professional life too. 

Especially if you are in a leadership position where your leadership strength and effectiveness are going to be measured by your ability to lead, inspire, and motivate individuals and teams. These competencies are directly related to the level of your EQ and the ability to build and maintain strong relationships.

One aspect of positive relationships includes validation. There’s an intrinsic need in our human nature to feel valued by other human beings. When this need is overlooked at work, the relationships can falter and the retention rate can decrease. 

But it goes further than that. Being dismissive toward employees can increase feelings of stress, dampen motivation, and can make it harder to meet deadlines or accomplish goals.

On the other hand, the more valued your employees feel the stronger their self-esteem and self-worth grow. Validation is a motivating factor for high-performance, consistent growth, and raising the overall workforce wellbeing.

A survey from the American Psychological Association found that employees who feel valued are more likely to report better physical and mental health, as well as higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation, compared to those who do not feel valued by their employers.

Here are some steps you can take to enhance the employees’ sense of value and worth, and keep relationships strong:

Implement employee-centric culture 

Think about the culture you want, where toxic is never nan option. The experiences that you are creating with your staff are instrumental in designing a culture where positive work relationships are celebrated. In other words, start creating a healthy and positive environment that is authentic to your brand and meeting the needs of your employees. This will accentuate the value you attach to every individual in the workforce.

Show empathy 

Be mindful, stay present, listen with focused attention. You communicate value when you genuinely care about the people in your organisation. Find out how your employees are doing, including their lives outside work.  Ask questions to help understand and draw out what they want and need to share. Do they feel empowered by their work? Do they feel valued? Take their concerns on board and offer them support.

Give ownership 

People want to be recognised for their contribution and validated with constructive feedback. One way to motivate them to bring their best is to allow them to work on projects that are close to their expertise and interest. Encourage different ideas, empower them to grow and succeed, and enable them to have a voice when designing and delivering solutions that impact them and the organisation. When different voices are heard and valued, the rapport between you as a leader and your workforce grows stronger.

Prioritise a work-life balance 

Acknowledging the fact that your employees have personal lives outside of work, shows that you value them and fully support their personal and professional development. Maintaining a healthy and balanced work environment can reduce stress, prevent burnout, and save money.  Embrace this element by promoting health and wellbeing, allowing hybrid work and flexible work hours, and respecting off-hour communication. Your employees will come to work happier, recharged, and ready to innovate.

Zana Busby is an experienced psychologist and author, having spent over 20 years studying and practising psychology and psychotherapy. 


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