I think we are all aware of the importance of developing relationships. In a family unit it fosters a great marriage; develops children who are respectful, loving, and caring. At work it boosts employee morale and helps with productivity.
There are no secrets to creating healthy relationships. Actually, there are no secrets to anything in life that is worth building- you just have to work hard it.
Below are my 5 keys on building healthy, and strong, relationships.
1. Give an attentive ear – Every day my daughters comes home from school they’ll tell me about their day. I do about 95% of listening and ask questions as needed. I’ve noticed throughout the years that they just really need an attentive ear. Anyone that you are seeking to create a relationship with, will need your ear. Therefore, be slow to speak and quick to listen.
2. Don’t be critical – as you listen don’t criticize. People within your sphere of influence need guidance and affirmation. It’s best to give advice on what to do, as opposed to what not to do. Yes, there will be times in extreme situations where you will need to be very direct about not doing something, i.e. don’t do drugs. But we need to understand that people trust us to give them advice and counsel, not to have a critical spirit and mindset.
3. It’s not about you its about the other person – relationships are not about you, but about the other person. When building relationships we have to make sure we avoid making conversations, spending time together about what we want. We need to put the needs of others first.
4. Spend time doing whatever the other person wants – as in 3 above, this is where we need to get outside of ourselves, stop being selfish and focus on the other person. Our natural tendency is to want what we want and others must just come along for the ride. But that’s not how it should be in a healthy relationship. It’s OK to ask your wife, “what would you like to do this weekend?”.
5. Ask what you can do to help – I always start and end my employee conversations with “what can I do for you?” It’s such an important question to ask as a leader because traditionally you are telling people what to do during the course of the day. So as a leader when you invest time with your employees always ask that very important question. Asking that questions will set you apart as a servant-leader.
Any other keys to building relationships?