Relationship Capital: 4 (and a half) scientific studies to help you be a better networker

Posted on by Brandon Klein

1. Teamwork isn’t just for the cavalry. Dynamics in the boardroom play out across levels of organizational trust and directly affect company profitability, as a study from Case Western Reserve University found. Surveying over 25 C-suite teams, members were asked to rate both their present degree of interactive compatibility and their “ideal” dynamics. Not surprisingly, those already working closest to their ideal levels of team engagement were managing the more profitable companies.

The takeaway: Avoid choosing a team based only on previous executive-level success. Instead, look for relationship skills and team commitment. If all else fails, recruit a third-party for better group facilitation. Your company’s success could depend on it.

2. The power of negativity. Building relationship capital is all about positive connections; destroying it is all about negative connections. That's the conclusion of a recent study from two University of Kentucky researchers, who found that negative interactions with co-workers, however rare, produce faster and stronger effects on workplace relationships than positive interactions. Specifically, almost all negative social experiences on the job undermine both the task at hand and morale in general.

The takeaway: No one gets along with everyone all the time. But don’t let tense relationships fall off your radar. Rather, use them as a springboard for practicing conflict-resolution skills to develop a stronger team.