It would be very appropriate to play the Godfather theme song in the background while reading this post. It’s all about the family and how we can strengthen our bonds through some rather unfortunate events. That said, it should not just be something we nurture when we have medical or emotional challenges in the family.
Probably goes without saying, but when you go through health scares and other emotional ordeals, family bonds tend to grow tighter. At least for most families!
Family is about helping each other through hard times.
Small tasks are handled by relatives. Food is prepared by in-laws, helping with the kids are done by close friends, and some close family might help with house tasks. These perhaps small gestures at the time can mean relieving the burden on the family member that is struggling. It also ensures the survival of the family tree.
We do not ask family for money when doing favors or helping out. We help out because we care and love each other, and that should not come at a price.
I would go as far as saying that caring families already have tight family bonds and meet regularly to celebrate big holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and anniversaries, etc. They thrive on family bonds.
Some families might only see small bursts in family relations. Connections are (re)established or rekindled, providing some much-needed attention and interaction. We sit down and share special moments and show some interest. Unfortunately, the help that is needed or asked for might not materialize, as the family is too “busy” or have other challenges that they value higher than health, e.g. blowing leaves. These brief moments of binding fade away over a short period of time and the net gain in family love has been eroded over time.
A select few, unfortunately, do not see any improvements and might actually grow further apart. I view these as materialistic opportunities, where family members are looking for a financial outcome or reward, just for helping loved once. It becomes a more toxic relationship and the stress levels will increase dramatically, and the emotional support will be replaced by emotional agony.
Dysfunctional family bonds will not help in the recovery process, so stay away from these if you know that the family is not available or interested in helping. It will just create more pain for you.
Family bonds depend on the situation families go through. , what’s at stake, and how people deal with challenges. Just like friends, you very quickly find out who you can rely on and if they are truly family-minded.
In my experience, you can apply many of these thoughts to your work as well. Not saying that you treat work colleagues as friends, but as you do spend a lot of time with them throughout your career, they do become an extended family.
Within your work family, you will over time bond with people in various scenarios and through work projects. You find out how the team compliments each other, and during challenging projects, they grow stronger.
UNLESS of course, you have difficulties leading the team, and that some team members see the work as just a job. They might not be keen on investing time or effort in establishing the team bonds.
We as team leaders need to find a way to grow and encourage team building, and thereby establish a stronger team (family) bond. This does not mean we have to force or expect people to work extended hours, or increase work stress, but merely help the team to work smarter.
How do we work smarter?
Teams need to share knowledge and leverage each other’s strengths. Once we start harnessing the skills and experiences of the collective team, then we will achieve great things. It does mean that we need to trust one another more, and share.
Sharing or delegating can be hard at times, as team members work differently although they achieve the same end goal. But if we combine strengths, then we will get to the end goal sooner.
What does that have to do with family and bonding?
Well, the team should help and support each other to achieve great results. If we help one another, relationships will get stronger and we will trust each other for future projects. We know the collective capabilities and know what and when we can deliver.
If a person in the team struggles, I expect other team members to step in and help out. It can at times be challenging if we have a lot of work, but these small gestures of support will safeguard the collective success.
If the team members do not support each other and compete internally, then we have already lost and there will always be a sense of infight. These “battles” will hinder our progress. This is a dysfunctional team.
I also strive to celebrate and praise team members for their efforts and do so in team meetings. I never throw a team member under the bus. If we fail, we fail as a team. When we win, we win as a team.
I hope that makes sense and would welcome your thoughts and idea.