Human beings are naturally social creatures. We crave friendships and positive interactions as much as we do food and water. When we have strong relationships in our personal and professional lives we are happier and more productive. Building relationships takes time but the benefits can be astounding for everyone involved.
Good relationships give us freedom. If you look at relationships from a limited point of view, they can look like transactional partnerships that have conditions and obligations. Like all things, if you look for that kind of relationship you’ll find it. Instead, look for opportunities to help and collaborate. Seek out people you enjoy spending time with and that lift you up. Work on being the best version of yourself and you both will improve and benefit through a positive spiral. Poor relationships in both your personal life and in business often take more energy as you spend so much time dealing with problems, doubting, and waiting.
How you can develop good relationships
You might think that the keys to building good relationships would differ between personal and professional relationships, but it’s not the case. The level of intimacy will change naturally, but the principles of developing good rapport and a sense of trust are the same. Have a think about relationships you have that you enjoy, and what makes them feel good. Can you carry these behaviours or ideas into other relationships in your life? When you start looking to deliberately build positive relationships you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by positive people who want the same thing.
Relationships get stronger when both parties are willing to understand mistakes and forgive each other.
- Assume the best of others. Consider that you are always doing the best you can – so is everyone else! Mistakes can happen, and commitments can be overlooked, but it’s rarely (if ever) deliberate.
- Communicate well. Unsurprisingly, this is key to building relationships. Always be as clear as you can. Uncertainty seeds doubt, so be sure to keep your partners updated. It’s hard to assume the best if you have no idea what’s going on. If you’re not hearing enough from your partners, speak up and ask.
- Be reliable. The old adage rings true here – under promise and over deliver. Do an honest assessment of yourself and ask if you are truly reliable. Do you meet your commitments? Do you turn up on time and treat deadlines with respect?
- Contribute generously to your relationships. We can be busy and keep our eyes open for opportunities to help at the same time.
- Keep your word. Honour contracts, agreements and understandings.
- Get people involved. It’s ok to let people know what’s going on in your life. Respect boundaries but consider a little openness, a little humanity, warmth.
- Want the best for others and want to see them succeed. Mutual growth is better for everyone.
- Listen well. Try not to think about what you’ll say next. Really hearing people will reveal a lot about what’s important to them. People will notice and want to build relationships with you.