How Work Teams and Friendships are Alike

Relationships share similar dynamics whether small or large. We are most familiar with the exchanges that are traded in interpersonal settings since the majority of our connections are one-to-one partnerships. When you expand these interactions to a team, the complexity multiplies. What if the model for successful partnerships was the same regardless of the size or scale of the team?

Imagine two teams. Think of an interpersonal connection as well as a group where your belonging is important. Consider the variables that contribute to the success and effectiveness of each relationship.

Values: Each person would fight for the same cause.

Differences: Diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring richness to conversations.

Respect: All parties place importance on the way interaction gets transacted.

Closeness: Fondness and caring increase as time passes and experiences are shared.

Accountability: Every promise is backed by integrity and commitment.

Growth: The partnership pushes for continuous improvement.

Adaptability: Change, whether expected or not, refreshes the team.

The lessons learned from successful interpersonal relationships can be applied to teams. Likewise, healthy team experiences teach us how to manage our social connections more effectively. What are your best practices?

Steve Ritter is the Founder & CEO of the Team Clock Institute and the Managing Director of the Midwest Institute & Center for Workplace Innovation. You can learn more about executive coaching opportunities at