Big Picture

How to use leverage to foster better relationships with your team

The relational dynamics of a new team are very different to a team that has been together for some time. When a new team is formed, the space between each person is naturally clean. However, while the rapport felt in the honeymoon period of new connections is always good, the natural trajectory of every team is towards conflict. Things inevitably get worse and the space between team members naturally gets polluted. 

Stuff happens. Conflicts arise. Expectations go unmet. Misunderstandings happen. Frustration, offense, hurt and disappointment is entirely unavoidable. In these seminal moments, you have only two choices: move through the conflict effectively towards connection again, or become blocked by the conflict and diverge towards an arrangement. Either the space between you is clean and your connection is pure, or the space is contaminated and there is stuff between you – meaning you now need to manage the relationship. 

To prevent any of these relationships descending into a polluted space not only is changing those you love appropriate, it is essential. The point is: you will need leverage to do so. The primary reason most people assume that you are not supposed to change those you love is that they have often had multiple experiences of leverage gone bad. 

People in a position of authority have demanded that you do some- thing you really don’t want to do, and because they have the power to inflict an undesirable consequence on you if you don’t conform, they have leverage over you, and you feel your only option is to give in and do what they say. This always leaves residual resentment and the sense that you’ve been devalued and abused in some way. 

Using leverage without earning the right first is to demand change in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons, with the wrong tools. Because of how painful it is when you are forced to do something against your will, the natural conclusion becomes that all leverage must be bad, and therefore it is inappropriate to use it against those you love. 

This is a mistake. Leverage is neutral and can be used to great effect when extra strength is required.  If you fear using leverage in case you get it wrong, you become impotent and must tolerate whatever happens in your world. You remain a victim of your environment and circumstances with little ability to improve your situation. 

Those who experience a meaningful and successful life do so off the back of great personal power to improve the quality of their life – especially the quality of their relationships. Using leverage for all the right reasons, at the right time, with the right tools to keep the space clean and bring change where necessary is the culmination of these 5 qualities in this order: 

  1. Security. This is to show up to your relationships confident in your inherent value and worth, knowing who you are, not needing external validation and approval. The moment you become needy or desperate in the team environment, you lose.  
  2. Clarity.  Be clear about what you want. In fact, be clear or be quiet. While you’re at it the clearer you can be about the game you are playing together and the rules of this game to make sure things remain fair and fun, the better it will be for the whole team. 
  3. Integrity. Deal with the BBQ sauce stain on your own T-shirt before worrying about the mess down their shirt. Do not demand anything of anyone that you haven’t already demanded of yourself. 
  4. Maturity. Negotiate don’t compromise. When two people want different things, this is really where the fun begins. Bringing all your best adult skills to the table enables you to always create a win/win solution that. 
  5. Authority. When you take your place in the team with security, clarity, integrity and maturity – you now exhibit great personal power and have earnt the authority to fight for change. 

Stand in your power as the prize and see things through till the end with the right tools at the right time for the right reason. Get the space clean again.


Written by Jaemin Frazer.
Have you read?
Your Team May be Healthy and Talented, but is It Right for Where You’re Going by Matt Hulett.
Despite What You May Think, The Leadership Hierarchy You Think You Want is Ineffective by Larry Yatch.
The Middle Ground Between Milton Friedman and ESG Standards by Lisa Gable.
Said Shiripour: Building An 8 Figure Business With The Vision Of Empowering Entrepreneurs .
Joe Soltis: Driven by Purpose – Growing and Nurturing a Purpose-Oriented Business.

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Jaemin Frazer
Jaemin Frazer is a renowned life coach, TEDx speaker and author of ‘Unhindered -The 7 essential practices for overcoming insecurity’. He is the founder of the Insecurity Project and specialises in helping entrepreneurs, leaders and business owners eradicate insecurity so they can show up to life unhindered by doubt, fear and self-limiting beliefs. He is widely recognised as one of Australia's best life coaches and a leading voice globally on the subject of personal insecurity. Jaemin Frazer is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Facebook or connect on LinkedIn.