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How to do a ‘Stan and Ollie’, and build lasting working relationships, even with colleagues who appear to see the world in a completely different way.
I recently went to see ‘Stan and Ollie’ the much-lauded new film which explores the relationship and final years of one of history’s best-loved comedy double acts, Laurel and Hardy.
As an eighties child, I was always excited about turning over to BBC2 (back in the day when there were only three channels to choose from) at 6pm to be entertained by the slapstick shenanigans of these comedy stalwarts.
I was fascinated by their on-screen relationship and comic timing, but what I never realised, until I watched the film, was the fact that they weren’t best friends since childhood who decided to show the world their comic flair. Rather, they were two individual performers were put together by a studio executive to make money.
What makes this fascinating then, is how well they learnt to accommodate each other’s differences, skills, abilities, personalities and moods. They went on to have an enduring friendship, despite some turbulent periods and became legendary entertainers.
It would appear from all the research that the main components of healthy working relationships are trust, communication, teamwork and time. Or if you prefer a snappier version then follow the advice on Unleashingu.com about the
We never know who we are going to be working with, so a commitment from the beginning to being open to different methods and approaches will enable us to accept differences and embrace them as opportunities to broaden our own mind-sets.
Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, once said that we only have influence over two things in life; what we think and what we do. Everything else is out of our control. So, what are you thinking and how are you thinking? Is it helpful or hindering? And what are you doing to back it up? Are you taking responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions?
Being solid in what we do and what we say we are going to do creates an environment of trust. It helps to embed new working practices rather than just giving up after a few tries.
Conflict only occurs when two parties come together, agree to do something but then don’t come back at regular intervals to discuss progress and solve problems. The longer these gaps in communication linger, the more the imagination of the individuals start to fill in the blanks with thoughts such as: “I knew he wouldn’t do it,” or: “She’s too busy looking after herself,”.
These sorts of thoughts can do some real harm if left to fester.
Commitment and consistency, when absorbed as part of the everyday culture, can then enable an individual or organisation to evolve in a more positive direction.
Relationships, both personal and professional, require cultivation. Remember that banter is verbal tickling, it’s good for us to have new interesting and different conversations and so time, effort, a commitment to listen, be curious, question and care for, all help to nurture those around us and move towards reaching our own potential.
There are so many significant benefits for cultivating our working relationships. Below are Laughology’s top 3
What really stands out for me when I watch them work together, even though they had some difficult times was their:
Their dedication to an art form, their desire to create, be playful, look out for one another, remain loyal and above all maintain a sense of humour, even when life got tough, is what I believe made them indefatigably the greatest working partnership the movies have ever seen.
For more information on cultivating working relationships that are more Blue Ridges Mountains of Virginia and less Duck Soup, please take a look at our Positive Communication and Relationship Building workshop.