As humans we are intrinsically wired to connect. The Harvard Study of Adult Development that studied people over 75 years to see what causes happiness concluded that those who are able to build healthy interpersonal relationships, live longer, are happier and healthier, find more meaning in life and enjoy it more (Valliant et al., 2019). 

Interpersonal Relationships

Refers to the “skill of developing and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships that are characterised by trust and compassion” (MHS, 2011). Relational maturity develops through three stages – dependence to independence to interdependence (Covey,1989). At the lowest level of maturity is dependence. Dependent people rely on others to get what they want. They would get their sense of worth and security from what others think of them and would be devastated if others didn’t approve of them. They expect others to support them and solve their problems and wouldn’t cope if others didn’t. A higher level of maturity is independence. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Independence is a significant shift in maturity and a wonderful achievement by itself. But the ultimate level of maturity we should aspire to is interdependence. Interdependent people are secure in their own abilities, but see that together with others more can be achieved by joining what others bring with what they bring. They derive a great sense of worth from within themselves but also see the importance of giving, loving and receiving in relationships. If you value relationships, then you will want your team members to be  able to develop them effectively.


Is “recognising, understanding, and appreciating how other people feel. Empathy involves being able to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective and behaving in a way that respects others’ feelings“ (MHS, 2011). A study assessing teams at Google found that in the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs; in other words the best teams have empathy (Duhigg, 2016). Developing empathy will help your team or organisation  foster better relationships.