Positive energy. Negative energy. We’ve already discussed how they impact other people. The quality of your energy, and your emotions for that matter, is infectious and influences others. The quantity of your energy matters too. The more you are energized, the more others will feel energized by you and will leave feeling upbeat.
You can also cultivate energy in others. In her book, Energize Your Workplace, Jane Dutton discusses how high quality connections (HQC) between individuals can improve individual and workplace engagement and performance. HQC consists of three parts: trust, respectful engagement, and task enabling. Though HQC is primarily aimed at the workplace, HQC likely can also facilitate and smooth personal relationships. If you know what constitutes HQC you can at least do your part to implement HQC from your side of the relationship, and encourage the other to reciprocate and follow your lead.
You know what trust is. While you cannot force someone else to trust you, you can set the right tone by being trustworthy and giving them the benefit of the doubt and your trust, without making them first earn it. Trusting also means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and sharing of yourself. In this case, trusting does not mean being foolish, but rather assuming the other to be dependable, competent, and deserving of inclusion and respect. If they prove themselves to be otherwise, you can act accordingly.
Respectful engagement means that one is present (not distracted), genuine, listens effectively and communicates affirmation during interpersonal interactions. In addition, respectful engagement includes supportive communication which means making requests rather than demands, being specific, and avoiding evaluation or judgment.
Though task enabling is probably more important at work, it also can help us have a personal life that runs smoothly. For example, our family is a team. The more we act like a team, the more effective we will be at successfully navigating the needs of the family. The more our family/team members help other members to learn what they need to know and nurturing them to help them grow, the more each family member will be competent and able to be successful. In addition, we can help by designing tasks in a manner that increases the odds of team member success. Allocating tasks based on our strengths, preference and availability is more likely to produce good results than say gender-based or traditional roles.
In addition to the above three components, Dutton also recommends a healthy dose of play to help build positive emotion, openness, creativity and team-building. Every home and workplace will have a different context, so be creative as to how to make the tasks more enjoyable. This is the hardest part of task-enabling for yours truly. I tend to err much more on the work hard/serious side. Maybe I’ll delegate play to someone else … but join in!