When it comes to your organization, how do you feel about the amount of control you have over employee-leader relationships? There is the messiness of power in organizational life, and it’s a challenging but powerful question to ask.

Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of The Advice Trap and Coaching Habit, joined me on Punk Rock HR to share his perspective on advice. During our time together, he shared how powerful something called social contracting can be for organizations.

So, what is social contracting, and how can it be helpful in a leadership or managerial environment?

According to Michael, “Social contracting allows staff, co-workers, and leaders to talk about the relationship again when a relationship goes wrong because it will go wrong.”

He goes on to state that’s the nature of relationships, they go off the rails, sometimes severely, sometimes a little bit.

With the use of social contracting, you’re giving each other permission to say, “It’s okay for us to talk about how we’re doing together.”

Social contracting creates resilience to the relationship you might not always have and helps to bring the conversation around.

For more about interpersonal communication in the workplace and how to give and receive advice, listen to my conversation with Michael Bungay Stanier.