by Paula on August 31, 2012

When Big Brother first burst onto our screens at the turn of the century, it fascinated and appalled in equal measure. 12 years on, interest may have waned, the format, channel and audience changed, but what is demonstrated by the coming together of individuals is a vital lesson in our business today.

Unique You

We all are unique. Some of us see and understand ourselves very clearly and perceptively, others have very skewed ideas of the person we appear to the world. We are an eclectic mash-up of our genes, our upbringing, people whose traits we liked, people who we wanted to avoid being like, good things that inspired us and bad things that hurt us. When we meet people, they see the result of this life and experience and know very little about the recipe that created the person that stands before them.


When we bring people into our companies to work for us we usually have some kind of meeting or interview where we determine whether this person is what we are looking for. We are wise to the difficulties of this selection process and as such the questions, tests and process have been refined through the years to try to maximise the value of this session and make the right choices. We look at the individual, their skills and personality, we introduce them to others and we gain references. This provides a great grounding.

The one thing though that can never be determined and yet can have a huge impact on our business, our team and the success of the individual is 1:1 relationships after the initial professional niceties have worn off.

 Big Brother

We see people enter the house in Big Brother. They loudly express, via their video blog and the way they enter the house, who they are and what they’re about. “Confident“, “Sparkly“, “Aggressive“, “Leader“, “Clown“. Then they walk into the house and as they days pass they change. The one who exudes confidence in his home environment surrounded by familiar people and things, withers into the background when faced with confidence greater than his own. The one who always claims to raise a laugh, becomes depressed and sullen when faced with someone with a bullying nature.

Then they start to leave. One by one, as individuals leave the house, others change. With the bully gone, the clown raises a smile again. When the numbers are lower the confident face of the overwhelmed individual shines through.


The bottom line is that you can take any individual and however clear they are about who they are, when working or living in close contact with a.n.other, one or both of them will change.

As people we react to those around us. Some make us shine, some make us doubt ourselves, some strengthen our weak sides, some crush our spirit. We don’t always now why and how but we can see it all around us.

Your office

Look around you. Can you see examples of people whose personality has seemed to change – Have you recently introduced someone new? Or maybe someone has recently come out of their shell – perhaps a person left who was sapping their confidence?

The most important thing is to have awareness of this. If an individual is not acting as you’d expected or hoped or seems to be struggling, don’t look at this as an isolated issue. Look at yourself, look at their team, look at the clients they deal with.

Your business is a web of complex relationships – ensure that you are benefiting from the magic that can happen when relationships are good, and work to recognise and minimise the damage caused by poor ones.

For further information or help on getting the best out of Employee Relationships, contact Paula White.


Georgina September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

A very interesting article for all those who work with others. Relationships within the work place are very complex and need to be addressed sensitively. CV-Library offer a career coaching page as it appears greatly important that people are aware of the type of industry they are going in to and how to deal with the people within that industry.

Hudson Accountants September 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Wow Paula, so sensible to look at relationships and interactions rather than individuals. People are much more complex than any other part of your business.

Paula September 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

Hi Della. Thanks for the comment. So often things are either improved, “She seems so much more positive this year”, or become a problem, “I don’t know what’s the matter with him, he used to be so focused” and people look to the individual for the cause of these changes. Very often though it is that they react and behave differently according to the people around them. Get the partnerships and teams right and it can have a hugely positive impact.

Previous post:

Next post: