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Work Relationships

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Strong Work Relationships Start Better Questions

I’m so excited to share this week’s Asking for a Friend all about work relationships. I hosted Michael Bungay Stanier live on LinkedIn for a conversation about how to have better relationships at work and talk about his new book, “How to Work with (Almost) Anyone.” If you loved his book “The Coaching Habit,” I know you’re going to dig this conversation. 

Watch the video and please share your comments and questions below or join the conversation on LinkedIn!

The Keystone Conversation: Talk About How You Work Together

work relationships

Love the concept of holding a Keystone Conversation

Often we jump into work relationships going straight to a discussion about the work itself. Basically, the Keystone Conversation is a discussion about how you work. Have this conversation in your work relationships before diving into specific tasks and projects.

To enhance collaboration, bring out the best in each other, and prevent problems, Michael shares these 5 essential questions to ponder. He says you don’t have to strictly adhere to this format. Any time dedicated to this conversation is valuable. Catch our full discussion about these 5 questions in our live interview and read about them below.  

5 Questions to Improve Your Work Relationships

Question #1: Amplify

When do you shine? When do you flow? What is the work that you do that supports you in being your best? Michael stresses this isn’t just what you’re good at – it’s what you’re good at AND you are fulfilled by. There’s also what you’re good at but it doesn’t fulfill you. Then there’s what you really like doing but aren’t very good at (…yet!). In work relationships, it’s really helpful to know this about yourself and others.

Question #2: Steady

What are your practices, processes, and preferences? How do you work? There are simple, practical preferences here like when and how you want to be contacted, how you want to receive feedback, etc. There’s also process info here that’s important regarding the logistics of how you work. Work relationships will be better if you understand how your colleagues work. 

Questions #3 & #4: Good Date/Bate Date

What can you learn from the good work relationships of your past? What can you learn from past frustrating work relationships of your past? There’s wisdom in your past experiences and you can learn about yourself and others in how you work. 

Question #5: Repair

Let’s say you’re in a relationship and it’s gone south. How will you fix it when things go wrong? Perhaps the most potent part of this question is that you expect things to go wrong so there’s permission to talk about how you’ll repair conflict before it even starts! 

Ask yourself…what’s at stake? What could go wrong if I don’t speak up? What could go wrong if I do speak up? Michael and I agree, weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision on what to do next. 

During our live interview, David Dye asked Michael this question (to which you can probably relate). Some people are uncomfortable engaging in these conversations. When you sense that discomfort, how do you recommend proceeding?

Included in Michael’s thoughtful response he says… “This will feel a bit awkward. If there’s a singular call to action from this book, it is be the person who reaches out and starts this conversation….It will get less awkward, and it can be a game-changer.” He shares how for most people in their work relationships, this is going to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. It’s a conversation that doesn’t happen often at work and it requires sharing something about yourself that is personal.

You can find out more about Michael Bungay Stanier’s new book “How to Work with (Almost) Anyone” right here. And let us know what you think!

And to learn more about how Let’s Grow Leaders human-centered leadership strategies can bring sustained transformation to your organization check out our Live Online & Hybrid Leadership Training Programs.Strategic Leadership Training Programs

Don’t miss these related Asking for a Friend interviews

The Power of Great Teamwork: Strategies for Building High-Performing Teams (David Burkus)

How to Cultivate Compassionate Accountability: A Path to Human-Centered Leadership (Nate Regier)


Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

  Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!


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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

Be More Daring


Get the free Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Leadership Training Programs