By mathematically analyzing the data, Gottman has provided hard scientific evidence for what makes good relationships.
In this interview with HBR senior editor Diane Coutu, Gottman emphasizes that successful couples look for ways to accentuate the positive: They try to say yes as often as possible.
Unless you’re a hermit, you can’t avoid relationships.
And your professional career certainly won’t go anywhere if you don’t know how to build strong, positive connections.
But if there’s little research on relationships at work, some is beginning to emerge on relationships at home.
That’s good news because the way that people manage their work relationships is closely linked to the way they manage their personal ones.
He and his colleagues use video cameras, heart monitors, and other biofeedback equipment to measure what goes on when couples experience moments of conflict and closeness.
Individuals embrace it as a way to work through essential personality differences.Even the best human resources officers may not know how or when to stage an intervention.If companies were more effective in helping executives handle their relationships through difficult times, they would see the company’s productivity soar and find it much easier to retain leadership talent.There’s a large and fast-growing support industry to help us develop our “softer” relationship skills; many CEOs hire executive coaches, and libraries of self-help books detail how best to build and manage relationships on the way to the top.Despite all the importance attached to interpersonal dynamics in the workplace, however, surprisingly little hard scientific evidence identifies what makes or breaks work relationships.Few people understand personal relationships better than Gottman, who has studied thousands of married couples for the past 35 years.