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Leadership

How the IKEA effect is a guide for building better relationships

The IKEA effect is something many would not know how to put a phrase on it but once said is obvious. 

Yes, the Ikea effect is a labour of love. 

We value IKEA furniture more as we have to invest time into reading those instructions and then the stress of assembling it. 

We have a sense of achievement, we brave the store, we pick the furniture, we spend hours building it and then we can enjoy it because we spend those hours into it. 

In the original experiment the test was building IKEA boxes, folding origami, and constructing sets of Legos, the reason why Ikea won out in my laymans ways of explaining: humans had to invest more labour into the connection with Ikea products. 

The Ikea effect with human relationships

It turns out that humans are the same with relationships. 

We value the relationships we put more effort into. We have to build and work on it. 

No real shock right? 

Unfortunately, many colleagues forget this. Many fail at building and investing in two way relationships. 

One of the common mistakes people make is to leave relationships and not nurture them, not invest the time into these relationships. 

This is also true in improving organisational health and something to consider when designing your organisation.

Management failure and how to learn from the Ikea effect

This is particularly true when your management career takes off. Some struggle most when they are internally promoted and then struggle to invest the time into these relationships. 

Many managers fail to invest the proper time to build relationships, especially away from recurring invites, think of the cancelled 1-2-1s, the ‘let’s nudge to next week’, I don’t have the time to look at it but send it through and I will take a look and you don’t are all signs you are not as vested as the other in the relationship. 

It is important that you see this as a long investment process, you will need to continue to meet, to continue to have hybrid coffee breaks and you will want to understand the changes in their lives and offer to support and be there. 

As a manager it is never about having the time, it is about creating and making the time, to prioritise and support those around you and who report into you. 

The Ikea effect is something many experienced managers especially those in management teams forget and under appreciate. 

Management lesson

Next time you consider why the relationship might have broken down or why your next few one to ones or appraisals come back not as favourable as you had hoped, it’s likely down to your relationship and time management skills.