Shasta Nelson: Why Successful Leaders Encourage Work Friendships

Old School leadership thinking claims that work is work and personal is personal and never the two shall meet. However, how many of your friends resulted from work relationships? How much more joyful is the work when you know friends have your back? How much more engaged are you? After all, you often see coworkers more often in a given week than your partner or children!

My guest today is author and keynote speaker Shasta Nelson. We discuss the myths around work friendships, and how encouraging friendships at work and making intentional connections leads to not only higher performance, engagement, retention, and loyalty – but less absenteeism and better health for you and your employees. We discuss the epidemic of loneliness, how to balance personal relationships with tough business situations, and why it’s in an organization’s best interest to foster work friendships. Shasta shares what we learn as school age kids and how it applies to work and what healthy friendships at work look like.

To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at

Key Takeaways:

  • Work is to adults what school was to children. We never tell children to not make friends, yet many adults believe they should not make friends in the same type of environment.
  • Being friendly with someone is different from being close friends with someone. There should be enough safety that everyone is, at minimum, friendly with each other.
  • Proactively have conversations with your friends at work about challenges that may come up, whether because of conflict, discipline, or something else. It will strengthen your relationship as you open with one another.
  • Consistency, positivity, and vulnerability are important for any healthy relationship.

“The goal isn’t to pull back and only stay comfortable. The goal is to say social health is on the other side of a little bit of relational sweat.” —  Shasta Nelson

About Shasta Nelson, Friendship Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author, The Business of Friendship

Shasta Nelson is a leading expert on Friendship who speaks across the country and facilitates events for connection. She’s been quoted in magazines and newspapers, online and print, including New York Times, The Washington Post, and Readers Digest, and has been interviewed live on over dozens of TV shows, including the TODAY Show and Steve Harvey Show. Plus, if you haven’t yet seen her popular TEDx talk then you’ll want to watch that later!

Her previous books include Friendships Don’t Just Happen! which is a guide for making new friends as an adult, and Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness which teaches us how to make our relationships more meaningful. But it’s her newest book that we talk about today as she takes her expertise about friendship into the workplace in The Business of Friendship: Making the Most of Our Relationships Where We Spend Most of Our Time.

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